A Look Back: Chivas USA's history of head coaches

Bradley: Set the bar very high at Chivas USA. - Martin Rose

What has the previous track record been for the club?

Editor's Note: The Goat Parade is happy to welcome another writer to the staff, and it is a name you are likely familiar with - Luis Bueno. This is Luis' first article on the site, in light of Jose Luis Real's official introduction as Chivas USA head coach today. Be sure to check back here for more good stuff from him!

Jose Luis "Chelis" Sanchez Sola was supposed to have been the man to guide Chivas USA from the bottom of the Western Conference towards respectability and eventually playoff contention, and while the Chelis Era started off well it ended prematurely.

The club has turned to Jose Luis "El Guero" Real now in hopes of beginning that climb in earnest. With Real's official arrival, the club now has had eight full-time coaches and two interims, all this despite being around for just nine seasons.

How the Real Era turns out is anyone's guess but the bar has not been set very high by his recent predecessors. Take a look at the imprint and significance of Chivas USA's former coaches, in order of least successful to most accomplished.

7. Thomas Rongen (2005; 1-8-1 record)
It may not have been intentional but Rongen was set up to fail. The roster was woefully undermanned and the expectations were a mile high. Rongen did not make it to June after the club struggled terribly out of the gate. With 10 games, Rongen has the shortest stint of any full-time coach in the club's history.

6. Jose Luis "Chelis" Sanchez Sola (2013; 3-7-2)
So much was expected from Chelis but impatience won out as the former Puebla manager was shown the door 12 games in and carrying a seven-match winless skid. Chelis was a bit undone by the fluid situation with Chivas' front office, who undermined him with surprising player deals that ultimately hampered the club.

5. Martin Vasquez (2010; 8-18-4)
Vasquez won all of eight games in his lone season in charge, a season that saw the club's four-year playoff streak end. Vasquez's roster was nearly a complete overhaul of the squad that finished out the 2009 season but change was not for the best. Like the others before him on this list, Vasquez's time ended prematurely. One season, however poor it was, was not seen as enough time by some onlookers.

4. Robin Fraser (2011-12; 15-32-21)
Fraser had two seasons to help turn the tide but the club was no better off because of it. Fraser's tenure featured a pathetically low-scoring side that was actually in the MLS Cup playoff chase down the stretch. Ultimately, it was not Fraser's performance that led to his removal but rather the change in ownership. When Jorge Vergara bought out his former partners and became the full owner, he chose to take the club back to its roots, and keeping Fraser around was not part of that plan.

3. Hans Westerhof (2005; 3-14-4)
Brought over from the mother ship just 12 games into the inaugural season, Westerhof brought a bit of stability but not much else. Chivas did not win much under the Dutchman but the team battled and played hard down the stretch. It's tricky to coach without talent, though, and that hampered Westerhof as much as it did Rongen.

2. Preki (2007-09; 40-29-21)
Preki inherited a strong and stable squad and took it to the next level. Chivas won the Western Conference in 2007 and were poised for a deep run but could not overcome injuries and a plucky Kansas City side in the first round. Still, Chivas enjoyed three successful seasons with the Yugoslav-born Preki, who brought fire and passion to a team when it was needed the most.

1. Bob Bradley (2006; 10-9-13)
Perhaps only Bradley could have turned a moribund and destitute situation into a prosperous one so quickly. Chivas went from laughingstock to contender over the course of one offseason. Bradley found the perfect formula for this club and was able to mix MLS veterans (Jesse Marsch, Ante Razov), Mexican talent (Juan Francisco Palencia, Juan Pablo Garcia, Claudio Suarez) and bright prospects (Sacha Kljestan, Jonathan Bornstein). His work with Chivas landed him the 2006 MLS Coach of the Year and propelled Bradley to the US national team.

* Sacha Van der Most, Javier Ledesma each served as interim coaches. Van der Most fell 2-0 to Seattle while Ledesma pulled out a 1-1 draw with Kansas City. Insignificant in the grand scheme of things, each was the shot caller for 90 minutes in league play.

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