Ok, the season is just over a week away, and yesterday Major League Soccer passed a significant milestone regarding roster rules. Teams needed to be under the 30-man limit, and further needed to be under the $2.81 million salary cap (the first 20 players on the roster are counted on the salary cap). Since we won't know the salaries of the players for months, let's set that aside (plus, there's no reason to believe they are anywhere near the cap limit) and look at Chivas USA's latest roster.
As ever, there are secrets lurking beneath this iteration, I'm sure. For instance, the length of Chris Cortez's contract, signed last year, were not revealed, so it was expected he would be on the team this year. Then, we found out he had an option and was out of contract, and then he was released earlier in the week. That's why this is a speculative roster, although the situation is much more clear than it was earlier in the preseason. You'll recall that my first effort at a roster, on January 3, had 14 players definitely on the roster. The second version, from February 5, had 20 players. While the player pool has been cut considerably, the actual amount of players on the roster has not changed very much. Check it out after the jump.(As Close to) 100% on the Roster:
Tristan Bowen (on loan)
Trialists/Draftees playing for a roster spot:
Jose Manuel Najera
Chivas USA Academy Players Possibly in the Mix:
Ok, let's review. There's now 23 players under contract on the roster. Although Bowen is on loan in Belgium, he is still counted on the roster, as he is of course on loan. JPA's situation continues to drag on, and the lack of a resolution is becoming more and more worrisome, but the party line is that he will be signed and will play in 2012 for Chivas. I highly doubt any of the Academy players will be signed by March 11. The player who seems to currently have the best shot is Delgado, but there's no immediate reason to sign him, as they can still sign him during the first half of the season (unless they want to avoid another Stevie Rodriguez situation). Spencer has committed to UC Santa Barbara should he choose to attend college, but he might be another possibility.
So that leaves the trialists and lone remaining draftee, Rowe. Since most of these guys are part of the second, or even third round of trialists this offseason for Chivas, it is unclear who may be tipped for a contract and who may be cut loose. The team has more than the minimum numbers of players to be compliant with the roster rules, but certainly the team could use a bit more depth, especially at forward and in defense.
Also, don't rule out a trade in the coming weeks. The Goats could try to address some issues and have a few players who could be good trade assets to other MLS clubs. Obviously, though, hopefully the trade will be a good one for a team that really needs to build a winning culture. At any rate, we'll keep you posted.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!