Almost the worst: Putting Chivas USA's 2013 season in perspective

An unfortunately frequent pose in 2013 for the rojiblanco. - Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

How did this season stack up against the club's historical record?

It's pretty hard to feel much cause for optimism when a team ends the season on the wrong end of a 5-0 whipping and misses the postseason for the fourth consecutive season. The vintage Chivas USA years of 2006-09 are becoming just that, vintage, as the years recede further and people forget (or simply started following MLS after 2009) Chivas were ever good. Heck, for fans, it appears to be more and more of a weird dream, the longer we go in seeing anything positive.

So I'm going to warn you in advance: this isn't going to be an uplifting post on most counts. No doubt I'll get more perspective and perhaps feel a bit cheerful from time to time as the days and weeks pass and we move into our final analyses of 2013 and look ahead to 2014.

Where does Chivas USA's 2013 season rank in the club's history? Let's take a look:

Year Games Points Wins Losses Draws Goal Difference
2005 32 18 4 22 6 -36
2006 32 43 10 9 13 3
2007 30 53 15 7 8 18
2008 30 43 12 11 7 -1
2009 30 45 13 11 6 3
2010 30 28 8 18 4 -14
2011 34 36 8 14 12 -2
2012 34 30 7 18 9 -34
2013 34 26 6 20 8 -37

Let's rank the various figures. Chivas' points haul this season is second-worst in club history, behind only the disastrous inaugural season. The same goes for their wins mark, which is even worse than the poor win totals of the past three seasons, and shows a definite downward trend over than span.

Don't worry, they did hit a new low over time, with their aggregate goal difference, which hit a whopping -37 for the season, besting (worsting?) their horrible -36 in 2005. Good thing they let in all those goals against the Portland Timbers last night, huh?

Ok, so these numbers are a bit misleading, since the number of games played has differed over the years. Fair enough. It's probably a safe bet that had there been two more games in 2005, that year's team wouldn't have kept two clean sheets. Let's compare points per game averages to get a good sense of how these seasons stack up:

Year Points per game
2005 0.56
2006 1.34
2007 1.77
2008 1.43
2009 1.5
2010 0.93
2011 1.06
2012 0.88
2013 0.76

Yep, it looks pretty definitive: 2013 was the second-worst season in club history, results-wise.

How does it look when we compare offense?

Year Goals Scored Assists
2005 31 28
2006 45 44
2007 46 51
2008 40 40
2009 34 29
2010 31 27
2011 41 45
2012 24 28
2013 30 22

Yikes. Chivas scored fewer goals than even in 2005, with four more games played. They've scored 31 goals or less in a season four times, including three of the last four seasons. On the bright side, they rebounded a bit from last year's scoring debacle, where they flirted with the league record in fewest goals in a season until just avoiding a record in futility at the very end of the season.

Strangely enough, although it "felt" that there were many assists this season, with the wingers providing some service, they notched by far the fewest assists in club history.

See a pattern? By the most general standards, including results and team defense and offense, this was Chivas USA's second-worst season in team history. Generally 2005 can still be considered the very worst, but it is awfully worrisome that for a team that went through not only yet another rebuild this year but also a "new project" and something of a midseason retooling they still finished nearly worst-ever marks just how much of a disaster the season was. Although there were periods of excitement and hope, notably in March and immediately after Carlos Bocanegra and Erick Torres joined the team in the summer, the results don't lie: the season was awful.

The take-away point? Seriously, things need to change with this club, and I don't mean making change for change's sake, akin to how the roster was built this year, with way too many players with no MLS experience who didn't have the requisite talent to succeed. I understand that changing a playing style takes time, and building a roster can't be done overnight. But let's be real: the roster has been remade about five times in the last four years, and poor coaching has played no small part in the failures. Add to that perhaps the worst factor of all, the constant instability in the front office, and no wonder 2013 was so poor.

If 2013 represents a rock bottom point for Chivas USA, great! That means the worst is behind us. But there is literally no evidence that will be the case. Until we see what happens moving forward, we can't know whether it actually gets better, can we?

What do you think? Leave a comment below!

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