Recently, I've noticed Chivas USA struggling with options up top. I don't just mean production, which has also been very poor, I mean actually putting players out on the field. Last night, Tristan Bowen and Jose Correa started again for the Goats, which isn't a surprise considering how many choices they actually have. Correa has made 12 appearances and Bowen 11 in the league to this point, leading to the implication they are the most productive forwards on the roster. However, between the two of them, they have just two goals and no assists.
The other forwards on the roster and physically present on the team at the moment are...Jose Manuel Rivera, who appears to play as a midfielder more often than not when he's on the field. Besides Rivera, we could probably consider Miller Bolanos to also be a part of the forward corps, since he can also play up top, but he has hardly played this year, making just five appearances.
So, two strikers and maybe two "backups" (I'd consider Bolanos to be a better option really than either of the current starters). What happened to the rest of the forwards?
- Juan Agudelo: Traded away to New England for a few bucks
- Giovani Casillas: Has gone back to Guadalajara, likely for good
- Julio Morales: Is with the Mexico U-20 team for the World Cup, rumored to be returning to Guadalajara after tournament ends
As you can see, this team never had a ton of striker options to begin with, but the most productive one was practically given away, while one and perhaps both of the remaining options probably won't return to Chivas USA.
I don't need to tell you this is untenable. Not only are Correa and Bowen largely ineffective (although it is promising that perhaps Bowen is starting to find his scoring touch), but there's no competition, and no depth. Say Correa gets hurt - what will Chivas do? Say Correa gets hurt and Bowen gets suspended - he's got four yellow cards, so it's probably coming at some point in the near future - seriously, who will be replacing them? This isn't paranoia, it's mere pragmatism.
I looked at some of the other teams in the league to see how many active forwards are on their rosters:
- LA Galaxy: Eight forwards, including two combo midfielder/forwards
- San Jose Earthquakes: Seven forwards, including one combo M/F
- Colorado Rapids: Nine forwards
- Portland Timbers: Seven to nine forwards
- Columbus Crew: Seven to eight forwards
I think you get my point. Chivas started the season with seven forwards, and now they have four. That is completely untenable. There's a possibility Morales could return, but even then, that gives the team just five strikers. I've figured that the team will not make any additions in the summer transfer window, but actually, if they don't pick up at least two strikers, they're going to really suffer this season. Not only will scoring remain severely constricted, but they may literally run out of bodies at some point. Is that really necessary? Could the management really forego adding essential players to the roster at a critical point in the season?
We'll learn the answer to those questions in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, Chivas USA are going to continue hobbling along with a completely depleted striker corps. Something needs to change here.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!