Last night, I attended the postgame press conference for Chivas USA coach Robin Fraser following his team's 4-0 loss to Real Salt Lake. Like many coaches in many sports, Fraser typically sticks to his talking points, and isn't always a dynamic quote in the press conferences, especially when the result doesn't go his way. This shouldn't necessarily be a surprise, as Fraser is a coach who keeps his cards close to the vest, and typically doesn't go for a bombastic style. Much of the recent points were covered following the game, as he reiterated the good start by Chivas, the unfortunate mistakes that got the ball rolling downhill yet again, and the emphasis on turning points in a game and season that have worked against the Goats. But a pair of questions gave Fraser a chance to break from his normal script.
In responding to a question about whether or not Fraser is looking ahead to 2013 already and whether that means the team will need to be changed next season, he responded:
Without a doubt, you don't have a season like this and go without changes, no question. Certainly, you evaluate everything and you determine where you make your changes. Given all the restrictions with rules there are in the league its not as easy as going out [and] making changes but certainly, coming off a season like this changes have to be made.
The next question was a follow-up that asked if any changes could include the coaching staff:
I'm not naive. Certainly, if you...its a results-oriented business. If you don't get results, then as I said, changes will be made and without a doubt I'm sure everything will be evaluated including the coaching staff and players. As I said, I'm not naive. I've been around this profession a long time and I do understand that results are key. Certainly there is a process that goes to rebuilding a team, but I think we've known that all along results are an important part of it.
As ever, I think these remarks are not surprising concerning the content, but I am a bit surprised at the relative amount of candor by Fraser. The first quotation in particular is obvious to anybody who watches Chivas with any regularity, that there are players who are clearly not cut out for substantial roles and need to be moved on. And the second quotation, while acknowledging the hot seat that Fraser must be on at this point, indicates that he is grounded in reality as far as how the results reflect on his performance. Since the results have been bad, he has to be concerned about his job security.
The question that emerges is whether Fraser has entered lame duck status and whether much hope can come from the final four games. At this point, I don't think there's much reason to change coaches with so few games remaining, but that concedes the practically-inevitable feeling that a coaching change is imminent. We won't know if that will be the case probably until after Jose Luis Real's report on Chivas USA is complete, but it seems pretty likely, and Fraser seems to know it without saying it outright.
One person who is still employed, despite earlier reports to the contrary: general manager Jose Domene, who chatted with fans following the match. Will either he or Fraser be working with the club in 2013? That remains to be seen.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!