We've finished our season series against Real Salt Lake, and tomorrow we'll watch the Rapids, two new signings in tow, finish off another series, against Chivas USA. Colorado has swept Chivas so far this year with a 1-0 win on the road and a 2-0 win at home. The series finishes with a nearly must-win game at Stubhub Center, and it's a very different Chivas team than we saw last time.
We had Alicia, the managing editor of The Goat Parade, on the Rapids Thugcast last night to chat about the Goats, but I also threw some questions around with site contributor Matt. His answers to my questions about Chivas are below, while you can find my Rapids-centric answers to his questions over on their site.
BW: When last we met, Burgundy Wave favorite El Chelis was still manning the sideline for the Goats. What tactical changes have come from the new management?
tGP: The biggest and most noticeable change has been new coach Jose Luis Real doing away with the 3-5-2 in favor of the four man backline. Matt Doyle, aka The Armchair Analyst, put up a video a few weeks ago that did a really good job explaining the deficiencies of the 3-5-2 as Chivas knew it.
In a nutshell, you can't just put three central defenders out there, have them run an offside trap and wish them luck. The sides who successfully run a 3-5-2 formation feature a complicated series lot of timed and interlocking parts.
Less subtle, but just as important, the team is committing far fewer fouls. Chelis really emphasized a rule of "eight seconds or less" to get the ball away from opponents. Chivas is a young team and Chelis is an incredible motivator which resulted in a Chivas side that would routinely accumulate 20 or more fouls per game.
The fouls are down significantly but the team is still earning yellow cards for dissent, off the ball fouls and of course the mass confrontation fracas in Philadelphia.
BW: Speaking of rookies, how is Carlos Alvarez doing?
tGP: I will always fondly remember Chelis public declaration of his intention to draft Alvarez? And why not, when you pick second it's not like you're really sticking your neck out there.
I'd reckon Alvarez immediately repaid Chelis's faith in him in his first appearance on St. Patrick's Day when he was subbed on and scored the short-handed equalizer against the LA Galaxy. Since then he's been a fixture in the midfield playing in all but two of the remaining matches.
He hasn't scored since, but he has chipped in two assists and has shown versatility to play both holding and attacking roles. He's ranked #191 in the most recent Castrol Index which might not sound too impressive, but it's fourth best on the team.
BW: Carlos Bocanegra will be missing the game against the Rapids after getting that somewhat tenuous red card against the Quakes. Who do you think will step into his spot in the defense?
tGP: Mario De Luna has been the de facto starter on the backline. Prior to Bocanegra's arrival, Real paired De Luna most frequently with Walter Vilchez. Vilchez though is no longer with the team. This afternoon Real said that Steve Purdy, not Bobby Burling, will be starting opposite De Luna. Purdy started for El Salvador during the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Thanks to Matt for chatting about Chivas, head to The Goat Parade for some pre-game reading on tomorrow's opponent.