The Spirit of '07: Chivas USA looking to past success as inspiration with latest rebuilding project

Cabrera: Turning over a new leaf. - Chivas USA (used with permission)

Could looking to the past provide a fresh perspective?

Though newly unveiled Sporting Director Paco Palencia hinted that Chivas USA wanted to play with more "aggression" in 2014, new coach Wilmer Cabrera was less concerned with proclaiming a style or system of play in his first press conference Tuesday than he was with taking a measured approach.

Time will tell if Cabrera's coaching strategies, coupled with the talent level at the club, will lead to better results.

However, one component is clear -- Chivas are once again embracing experience.

Following the press conference, new Chivas defender Tony Lochhead told reporters about the logic behind his addition to the team.

"Obviously the team struggled in the back a bit last year and the last couple seasons, so hopefully we're a little more solid in the back and I hope I can bring something to the team that hasn't been there in the last couple of years," Lochhead said.

Although Ante Jazic played fairly well for Chivas in the left back position prior to 2013, Lochhead may have a point, especially considering the fact that the Goats did not have a true left back on their squad at all last season. As a result, in the most superficial sense, Chivas are literally rebuilding the roster.

However, the more intriguing angle in the 2014 rebuilding project is the apparent emphasis in looking back on the club's past to draw inspiration now.

"[We want to] bring back the team from '07 and get a championship," said defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste to assembled reporters Tuesday, another addition to the squad this offseason.

What is interesting about that quote is from someone within the group that is referencing the heyday of the team. With the vast turnover from the squad to the coaches and support staff, on up to the front office and organizational staff over the years, practically nobody has survived from Chivas' last playoff team in 2009 to the present. Perhaps unsurprisingly, folks don't often refer to the "good old days" of Chivas USA within the organization on a public level.

Maybe Jean-Baptiste is a big fan of MLS and followed Chivas through the good times. It's possible, but I doubt it. More likely, Cabrera is drawing upon Chivas' best accomplishment to date, a first-place Western Conference regular season finish, to motivate the team to move towards getting back to that goal. Given the quality of the other teams in the West, that's going to be a tall task, but it appears Cabrera may be turning less towards "New Eras" and more towards the institutional memory of the club.

For a club that has tried just about every strategy short of stability the past four years, being nostalgic for better days could help prove effective in turning around a struggling team.

What do you think? Leave a comment below!

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