Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Projected Starting Lineups: Chivas USA

Blog: http://chivas-usa.blogspot.com/

Projected Starting Lineup:






Coming off the bench: GK Lance Parker, DF Jim Curtin, MF Jesse Marsch, MF Atiba Harris, FW Alecko Eskandarian

Last year's Chivas was plagued by injuries, but they still managed to win the Western Conference before falling in the Playoffs. This year, the trend has re-emerged early. Defender Alex Zotinca has already been ruled out for most of the season with a partially torn ACL. He has since had successful surgery, but that leaves Jim Curtin as your next viable option in the back, with two inexperienced players behind him in Bobby Burling and Eric Ebert. Depth is the biggest problem again this year, especially in the midfield.

The turnover was limited and the Goats filled a couple necessary spots with quality players in the offseason. The biggest X-factor is going to be the entry of Wicky into the line-up. In the midfield, Chivas generally allowed Kljestan and Mendoza to line-up in the middle and push to the wings, but with Wicky, Marsch, and Nagamura all adept at the central holding midfielder role, you could see more of the wings this year. Preki did well by making sure he signed Panchito Mendoza to long term contract as the kid keeps getting better every year. Add that to Kljestan, who is looking to build off of a 13 assist season, and you've got yourself that solid midfield intact. If it stays healthy. Depth is not great but an improvement upon last year. Atiba Harris and SuperDraft picks Daniel Paladini and Keith Savage could provide a much needed youthful boost to the midfield, but no way to know for sure until the season starts.

Up front, Razov and Galindo should be ready for another productive season. The addition of Alecko Eskandarian is a great one. A guy looking to re-prove himself in Los Angeles after being shipped across the country from DC to Toronto to Salt Lake and now the West Coast. You can expect Esky to bag a couple goals even despite last season. He would slot in nicely behind Galindo or Razov on days when one of the two strikers need a break. Along with Esky, you can probably expect the same amount of production from second-year Englishman John Cunliffe (3 goals in '07). If injuries take its' toll, which it most likely will with Razov - expect Chivas' new rookie target man Justin Braun to get some minutes as well. With the first annual Sueno MLS winner, Jorge Flores, he'll probably fill in on the wings.

Outlook: 2nd in the West

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