By July 2013, Chivas USA was in complete disarray on just about every part of the field. With an attack that had ground to a complete halt, a midfield that had plenty of bodies but not enough production, and a defense that had Mack truck-size holes in it, reinforcements were needed all over the field.
While it is true that there were two key additions in the summer, in Carlos Bocanegra and Erick Torres, plus a few acquisitions that could prove useful in the future, the loan deal of Jaime Frias was quite puzzling overall. The 20-year-old defender was a local on loan from Chivas de Guadalajara, so he ticked two of the key boxes for the organization. After coming to the team in mid-July, the player with no pro experience sat on the bench until the final four matches of the season, when he played in every game.
I suppose we may not need more confirmation of this, but playing Frias at the end of the season sounds like a move by a team that pretty much didn't care a great deal about the league itself. I understand the logic that if a player is on the squad he ought to get a shot, but why wait a few months to give him his debut?
Frias played three of his four games at left back, probably the biggest problem position for the Goats all season. So why not play him earlier, or else not at all?
Here are Frias' statistics with Chivas USA this year:
|Games Played||Games Started||Minutes||Goals||Assists||Shots||SOG||Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|MLS Regular Season||4||3||261||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|U.S. Open Cup||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
I suppose my frustration at Frias doesn't come from the player himself but rather at the collective performances in his appearances. Chivas lost all four games, by a combined 13-1 score. It was an awful way to end the season. Obviously, the team was out of the playoff hunt by that point, but Jose Luis Real threw in the towel all the way, especially by playing guys like Frias to give them "experience" and then promptly sending them away from Chivas USA.
How was Frias? He looked like a guy getting his first pro minutes on a weak defense. I don't think there was anything to indicate he couldn't possibly make a career, but there wasn't anything to demonstrate he was a star in the making, either.
Frias was among the 10 players cut loose from Chivas USA a couple weeks back, as he was sent back to Chivas de Guadalajara. For now, he's part of the CD Guadalajara team for the coming Liga MX season, but it remains to be seen if he'll stay there or get sent to another affiliate.
With young defenders, the key is that sooner or later, they have to get competitive minutes if they are to really mature as players. On some level, Jose Luis Real did what every coach has to do, give a youngster minutes to help his development. But I wonder if Real will be playing Frias this coming season, either at left back or center back. Given the higher stakes at Chivas de Guadalajara, somehow I doubt it.
And that's the rub -- no disrespect to Frias, who could turn out to be a decent player, but his role on this team demonstrates the farm club designation by the organization of the 2013 Chivas USA squad.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!
- Once a Goat: Paulo Nagamura wins MLS Cup with Sporting Kansas City
- Report: Wilmer Cabrera is a candidate for Chivas USA head coach
- Will Chivas USA be playing in Las Vegas once again in February?
- MLS Commissioner Don Garber: Chivas USA will not be contracted or moved
- Chivas USA should study Sporting Kansas City as a lesson in revitalizing an MLS club