Evaluating the Player Acquisitions of Robin Fraser

Ric Tapia

With Robin Fraser's departure, we recount the players brought in while he was coach and evaluate their overall impact with the Goats.

With Robin Fraser officially out as Chivas USA head coach, it is worth looking at all of the signings the team made with him at the helm. Of course, Fraser was not the only person to make personnel decisions, as general manager Jose Domene was heavily involved as well, but since Fraser made the decision of who to play, we're focusing on the players brought in after he took over in January 2011 who saw time with the first team.

With the table below, you'll notice the various categories for the 32 players acquired between January 2011 and August 2012. The most uncertain category is "Still with team," since there's a very good chance many of the players still on the roster are out the door with Fraser. But this is what we know now.

You'll notice that 10 players were signed as free agents, which fits in with a club that hasn't sought to pay transfer fees very often. Three players came from the MLS SuperDraft (and no players were signed in the Supplemental Draft), and another 10 came through MLS trades.

Player Date Acquired From Still with team? Since Chivas USA Rating
Zarek Valentin Jan 2011 Draft - Akron No - Expansion Draft Montreal Impact He was raw, but the factor that most likely led to his departure was his high salary. Still, Riley was a superior replacement at right back in 2012.
Victor Estupinan Jan 2011 Draft - LDU Quito No - Option declined in late 2011 Universidad Catolica, Technico Universitario Best known for declaring he'd score 30 goals in 2011 on draft day, he seldom played with the first team. It is unclear if he could have made it work in MLS.
Andrew Boyens Feb 2011 Free Agent No - Option declined in late 2011 LA Galaxy Started the 2011 season as the preferred center back, lost Fraser's favor during the season and was replaced by Michael Umana. Has not impressed in his subsequent time with the Galaxy.
Simon Elliott Feb 2011 Free Agent No - retired Chivas USA Technical Director Provided desperately-needed leadership and rose to the occasion at times as Chivas' defensive midfielder in 2011. Still, his retirement was not a surprise.
Heath Pearce Feb 2011 Trade - FC Dallas No - Traded in May 2012 New York Red Bulls All-Star in 2011, U.S. international in January 2012, Pearce was Chivas' best defender in 2011. He lacked leadership and his interest level seemed to wane, however. This was a risky trade, as Pearce was a Top 3 player on the team.
Francisco Mendoza March 2011 Indios (on loan from Chivas de Guadalajara) No - Released in Sept 2011 Universidad de Guadalajara The move screamed to be an acquisition at the behest of the owners, and Fraser seldom played Panchito in his second shift with Chivas USA. After matching the club's appearances record, he was released with no comment, which seemed like a cold move.
Nick LaBrocca March 2011 Trade - Toronto FC Yes All-Star in 2011, LaBrocca was a breakout star in 2011. He played decently at times in 2012, and should still produce in the future, but it is unclear if he can produce on offensive end with any consistency, and if his game can evolve further.
Marcos Mondaini March 2011 Loan - Centro Atletico Fenix No Emelec 2011 season was derailed by his ankle-breaking tackle of Javier Morales. Like Estupinan, it appeared the club didn't want to give him time to adjust to MLS.
Chris Cortez May 2011 Free Agent No - Released in Feb 2012 Unknown Was very raw and never seemed up to the level of MLS.
Laurent Courtois Aug 2011 Free Agent Yes Has shown moments of real skill, but has drifted in and out of games, when he's gotten playing time, which hasn't been a lot.
David Junior Lopes Aug 2011 Universitatea Craiova No - Traded in April 2012 LA Galaxy Truthfully, wasn't with Chivas long enough to make a full impression, but the fact that he was Chivas' last-string center back when he got traded was probably a good sign that he didn't work out.
Juan Pablo Angel Aug 2011 Trade - LA Galaxy Yes Finished 2011 off remarkably well, and was Chivas' Golden Boot winner in 2012, although injuries definitely muted his impact.
Ryan Smith Nov 2011 Rights Traded - Sporting Kansas City Yes Has looked good when he's played, and with better midfielders with him, could really break out. Questions persist about his durability, however.
James Riley Nov 2011 Trade - Montreal Impact Yes Started 2012 off with a bang, but seemed to lose his way along with the rest of the defense during last 3 months. Still, he's been an upgrade.
Oswaldo Minda Dec 2011 Transferred from Deportivo Quito Yes Perhaps Fraser's best signing. Has a penchant for picking up yellow cards (and suspensions) but he has been a terrific defensive midfielder.
John Valencia Jan 2012 Signed from Atletico Junior Yes Came with high expectations, but appeared to be beaten by McKenzie in his spot for the first half of 2012. When he played, he was often poor.
Casey Townsend Jan 2012 Draft - Maryland Yes Only scored one goal, but on the 2012 Chivas team that's not bad. Didn't get much playing time in his rookie year, although he still seems promising.
Marvin Iraheta Jan 2012 Free Agent Yes A torn ACL in the first scrimmage of the year kept him off Fraser's radar for most of the season. Once he was cleared, however, he never played.
Tim Melia Jan 2012 Free Agent Yes Played well in limited minutes as Dan Kennedy's backup.
Miller Bolaños Jan 2012 Loan - LDU Quito Yes Initially struggled upon arriving, but his skill seems to be very promising. The loan makes his return questionable.
Rauwshan McKenzie Feb 2012 Free Agent Yes Played very well through first two-thirds of the season. Once he was benched, Chivas tanked. Coincidence? Probably, but he still seems like a good player.
Peter Vagenas Feb 2012 Free Agent Yes The most controversial signing, he provided leadership and halfway-decent play in limited minutes.
Cesar Romero Feb 2012 Free Agent Yes Seldom played. His skillset appears to make him something of a "tweener" and it is unclear if he can settle in to an MLS club's rotation.
Scott Gordon March 2012 Signed from Ft. Lauderdale Strikers No - Released in July 2012 Ft. Lauderdale Strikers Barely played, and was cut, presumably to make room for Burling.
Patrick McLain March 2012 Free Agent Yes Never played, which isn't a surprise for a 3rd keeper.
Jose Correa April 2012 Transferred from Boyaca Chico Yes Looked great out of the gates, but ended up in Fraser's doghouse and seldom got minutes late in the season. He seems like a great talent, but didn't get support or consistent action.
Paolo Cardozo April 2012 Trade - LA Galaxy Yes Has skills, but seldom produced with them. The trade for Lopes was probably a wash, to be honest.
Marky Delgado April 2012 Chivas USA Academy - Home Grown Player Yes Came off the bench once this season. He's obviously meant to be one for the future.
Juan Agudelo May 2012 Trade - New York Red Bulls Yes Talented, but certainly disappointed over the course of the season. Whether that was because of him or the lack of support remains to be seen.
Danny Califf May 2012 Trade - Philadelphia Union Yes Was a great addition midseason, but seemed to wear down over the course of the season. Also was inexplicably benched late, but seemed like an upgrade.
Bobby Burling Aug 2012 Rights Traded - Montreal Impact Yes Didn't impress as a starter in limited minutes, but may have just been a victim of the team collapsing around him.
Shalrie Joseph Aug 2012 Trade - New England Revolution Yes

A risky move that didn't appear to work. After he was added, the team's season completely fell apart. He is not the sole person to blame, but Fraser's insistence on playing him disrupted Minda and Califf, in particular.

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