Will Carlos Bocanegra’s move to Chivas USA get him back into U.S. national team?
On the one hand, skillful men have climbed from the debris of ongoing Chivas USA organization chaos to move into better places. We present Brad Guzan and Sacha Kljestan as Exhibits A and B – and fine exhibits they are.
Then again, it’s been awhile since they launched their European careers out of Chivas USA. Guzan escaped the Home Depot Center’s renter tenant in 2008. Kljestan broke free two years later.
So we come to Carlos Bocanegra’s arrival into the renamed ground, the StubHub Center, to join Chivas USA. Richard Farley stared the conversation at PST here, craning his noggin and beginning to ask the questions how, exactly, it makes sense for the player?
It’s a great “get” for the club. That much is clear. Whether Chivas USA will make good and proper use of their veteran commodity, only time will tell.
For Bocanegra, the outcome is even less certain. We already know that one very good player in Chivas USA defense, goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, has seemed to suffer from the franchise’s inability to formulate a solid identity or a solid plan on finding one. For Kennedy, any night in goal is target practice waiting to happen.
And it shows; Kennedy hasn’t quite been the All-Star ‘keeper that he was through the first half of 2012, and who could blame the poor guy? If this thing were a gunfight, he’d be the unlucky one handed a knife. Could the same kind of beat down, a similar wear-and-tear effect, dent the will and initiative of a center back? Of course it could.
Put a good team around Bocanegra, one where he has some solid midfield organizational protection and a pair of reliable outside backs and he would be a great addition, someone to steer the ship. Yes, the former U.S. captain has lost a step. But he could handle MLS duties based on wits and wisdom at the position.
Unfortunately, Chivas isn’t going to offer that defensive support. I’m sure Bocanegra took a good, hard look at that league-worst 31 goals allowed before signing up.
Even recent signs of “something better” en route hold only shallow promise.
If things go as they have over the last year at Chivas USA, with a personnel plan and top-level management in near-constant, unstable flux, then this looks like a recipe for woe. In that case, it will be hard for Bocanegra to look like a man ready to get back into the national team, even in a support role.
I hope I’m wrong, for Bocanegra’s sake. He was a strong, respected captain who represented the team faithfully. Unfortunately, history says a position on the Chivas USA is like a place on a three-legged stool – one wrong lean from falling plum over.