Orlando City midfielder branded as ‘invaluable’ by Adrian Heath

Orlando City SC midfielder Eric Avila has been labelled by head coach Adrian Heath as invaluable to the injury-hit Major League Soccer Expansion Franchise.

The former FC Dallas, Toronto FC and Chivas USA star is currently on loan with Orlando City from Santos Laguna in Liga MX and has enjoyed a spell in the side recently due to the injury crisis at the club.

Adrian Heath has been quick to highlight Avila’s importance to the team: “The great thing about Eric (Avila) is that he can play in any position in midfield, and even at right-back, so he has great versatility. In a league with a salary cap, it is invaluable,” Heath told MLSsoccer.com.

“The other great thing about him is that he is a really intelligent footballer. You never need to tell him anything more than once, so I feel confident in moving him around the formation.”

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Avila seems to be enjoying his time in the side too, after scoring in the 4-0 demolition of LA Galaxy recently.

“I honestly thought I was coming in here for more of a defensive role. However, the way things have worked out, it has been really good for me. I loved the way the team played when I watched on film of them and I really enjoyed playing in this style, so having a more advanced role actually plays to my strengths.”

Avila looks set to carry on as a key player to Orlando’s campaign as they look to cement a playoff place.

How valuable is Eric Avila to Orlando City’s playoff hopes?

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Erick Torres heads back to Chivas before possible MLS switch in 6 months

Erick “Cubo” Torres has dominated most of the postseason transfer headlines as his stance has been unclear since Chivas USA were disbanded as a club, but his situation looks to be finally resolved… for now.

The 21-year-old Mexican striker has been in talks with Major League Soccer for some time, as the league looked to keep him in the US. And they may have succeeded, but for now he’s going back to parent club Chivas Guadalajara of Liga MX.

Chivas are in a real relegation scrap as they have won just one of their last ten, and have failed to score in three of their last four. Solution – bring back Torres.

He netted 15 goals in 29 games for a poor Chivas USA side last season and will now look to carry that form into Liga MX to keep Chivas in the top-tier of Mexican football.

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That does not mean a move to MLS is dead in the water though as ESPN soccer reporter Tom Marshall indicated on Twitter.

Torres is expected to still make a return to Major League Soccer and will reportedly join up with a new team at the midpoint of the 2015 season.

The next big question then is ‘who is that team going to be?’ Well it seemed like LA Galaxy were frontrunners for his signature for a long time, as Torres himself was keen on a move to the MLS Cup champions, but the Galaxy are not believed to be interested.

They are looking to replace Landon Donovan with a designated player, but are exploring other options. Another rumoured destination for Torres was the Seattle Sounders, but they too are not believed to be chasing the talented young Mexican at this point.

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Last night, it emerged that the Houston Dynamo were in pole position to bring Torres back to MLS as Ives Galarcep reported on Goal.com.

According to the report, the Dynamo were willing to meet a $7.5 million demand for Torres but by sending him back to Chivas for six months, that fee could be lowered significantly.

The Dynamo therefore will be favourites for his signature after he is done on his rescue mission to Mexico.

Torres needs a home after a turbulent few months and a move to Houston would certainly be an intriguing move.

What do make of the Erick Torres situation? Would Houston Dynamo be a good destination?

Erick Torres changes Facebook picture to suggest LA Galaxy move is close

Erick “Cubo” Torres has dropped a major hint that he will secure a move to LA Galaxy as he has changed his Facebook profile picture to an image of himself in front of a Galaxy board.

Torres was sensational in Major League Soccer with Chivas USA last season but with Chivas no longer a team, the Mexican striker needs a new club if he is to remain in MLS.

The league have been negotiating a contract with the CD Guadalajara player to keep him in MLS and it looks likely that he’ll be moving to 2014 MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy, to replace Landon Donovan as a designated player.

A move would see Torres play up front with Gyasi Zardes and Robbie Keane in what would be a frightening looking attack force in 2015.

Changing a picture on social media might not seem like much, but in the modern world of social media, hints like this are usually done on purpose.

Will Erick Torres be a good signing for LA Galaxy if he does move?

Chivas USA Dispersal Draft sees just seven players selected

Major League Soccer conducted its first of many drafts over the next couple of months with the Chivas USA Dispersal Draft today, but only seven players were selected.

The draft took place via conference call between all 20 clubs, as the entire Chivas USA roster were up for grabs except for star player Erick ‘Cubo’ Torres, who is still negotiating a contract with MLS.

FC Dallas had the first pick and selected goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, who was seen as the most attractive option heading into the day.

Dallas already have two starting calibre ‘keepers in Raul Fernandez and Chris Seitz and may look to use Kennedy in some form of postseason negotiation. Though he could be given a chance to battle for the starting job, but that remains to be seen.

The remaining six selections in the dispersal draft saw young players picked up. Expansion club New York City FC selected Matthew Dunn with the second pick, as DC United selected Thomas McNamara with the fourth pick.

Montreal Impact picked up the only defender to move in the draft by selecting left-back Donny Toia with the sixth pick, before Caleb Calvert moved to Colorado Rapids and Kristopher Tyrpak joined San Jose Earthquakes in the eighth and ninth selections.

Marco Delgado was the last player picked in the draft as Toronto FC opted to take the versatile midfielder with the fourteenth pick.

Surprisingly, Nigel Reo-Coker and Andrew Jean-Baptiste were not selected and they will hope to escape football limbo before the start of the next campaign.

Reo-Coker could still offer many teams some steel in the middle of the park, and it’s surprising a club like Orlando City opted to pass on the former Vancouver Whitecaps man.

Jean-Baptiste going past the dispersal draft without a club is an even bigger shock. The centre-back could offer many teams some solidity at the back and many expected him to move somewhere.

Both players could still find teams in MLS before the new season starts but for now, just seven former Chivas USA players have found hope elsewhere.

What did you make of the Chivas USA Dispersal Draft?

FC Dallas to get first pick in Chivas USA Dispersal Draft

Major League Soccer conducted a draw to determine the selection order for next Wednesday’s Chivas USA Dispersal Draft on Friday, with FC Dallas coming out first.

The envelope draw saw all 20 MLS sides involved – New York City FC and Orlando City included, as all non-playoff teams had two envelopes, whereas playoff sides had one.

Despite the advantage for non-playoff teams, four of the top five picks went to sides who made the playoffs, with FC Dallas coming out first.

The Dispersal Draft will see MLS clubs pick players from the recently disbanded Chivas USA squad, and everyone is available apart from star striker Erick ‘Cubo’ Torres as he is negotiating a contract with the league separately.

Goalkeeper Dan Kennedy is expected to be one of the first names drawn, while other notable names include Marky Delgado, Andrew John-Baptiste and Nigel Reo-Coker.

Draft picks for Wednesday’s draft cannot be traded, although the player selected could be once all teams have picked.

Chivas USA Dispersal Draft order:

  1. FC Dallas
  2. New York City FC
  3. Sporting Kansas City
  4. DC United
  5. New England Revolution
  6. Montreal Impact
  7. Orlando City SC
  8. Colorado Rapids
  9. San Jose Earthquakes
  10. Real Salt Lake
  11. Houston Dynamo
  12. Portland Timbers
  13. Chicago Fire
  14. Toronto FC
  15. Columbus Crew SC
  16. LA Galaxy
  17. Philadelphia Union
  18. New York Red Bulls
  19. Seattle Sounders FC
  20. Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Who do you think will be the first name drawn on Wednesday?

2014 MLS Season Review: Chivas USA

Western Conference Final Position: 7th

Review

It was a disappointing show by Chivas this year as they showed a lot of promise but never really produced enough to threaten anyone. We were expecting a bit more than what we saw unfortunately.

Best Moment

A four-game winning streak where they beat San Jose, Real Salt Lake, Montreal and Vancouver consecutively through June and July – Erick Torres scored in all four games.

Worst Moment

Being 4-0 down by half time at home to Seattle Sounders early in September. They did fight back in the second half but eventually lost the game 4-2.

Player of the Year

It’s the obvious choice really, but with 15 goals and 52% of the overall team goals, it has to be Erick Torres. We’re expecting big things in the future from the 21 year-old.

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Colorado Rapids 1-3 Chivas USA (May 11 2014)

Vancouver Whitecaps 1-3 Chivas USA (July 13 2014)

Biggest Defeat

Chivas USA 0-4 Sporting Kansas City (September 13 2014)

Chivas USA fold

Sadly, Chivas USA will not be returning to Major League Soccer in 2015 as the league undergoes a few changes.

MLS to adopt new setup for 2015 season

Major League Soccer will look a little bit different for the start of the 2015 season, after the league announced some key changes today.

Chivas USA will cease operations with immediate effect, and a new Los Angeles-based side will be announced on Thursday, to begin playing in 2017.

The decision to remove Chivas from MLS was made by the MLS Board of Governors, and MLS Commissioner Don Garber revealed the reason behind the key decision.

“As part of our new strategy for Southern California – a major hotbed of soccer participation and fan support, we believe that engaging with a new ownership group which has the resources and local community ties, and a plan for a dedicated soccer-specific stadium, provides us with the best chance for success,” he said.

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With Orlando City SC and New York City FC set to enter the league next season, MLS has had to shake up the conference alignment.

As a result, the two new franchises will enter the Eastern Conference, while Sporting Kansas City and Houston Dynamo will have to face new rivals in the Western Conference.

This means that Major League soccer will have two 10-team conferences for the first time.

MLS Season 2015 Setup

The 20 sides will play 34 regular season matches once again, and clubs will play teams in the opposing conferences once for five home and five away matches.

That will cover 10 games, and the remaining 24 fixtures will be played against sides from within the same conference.

Teams will play their nine conference rivals at least twice (one home and one away game), plus six additional games against teams from the same conference – three home, three away.

What do you make of the latest changes to the MLS setup?

Preview and Prediction: Chivas USA vs San Jose Earthquakes

Chivas USA take on San Jose Earthquakes as the two worst sides in the Western Conference clash this Sunday, to end what have been largely miserable seasons for both.

The sides lock horns level on points and both will want to get the win to avoid being at the foot of the table come the end of the final weekend.

The Earthquakes go into the game in good form, having taken four points from their last two, which is promising for them, considering they had failed to win in the previous 13 in all competitions.

Chivas had won two back-to-back for the first time since July, but did lose against Real Salt Lake on Thursday. Their form over the season simply hasn’t been good enough, but there is promise for them in the season finale as Erick Torres will want to add to his tally of 15 to end what has been a good season individually.

Both sides will be looking to end this season with something to take into next term and ensuring that they don not finishing bottom would be a step in the right direction.

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Chivas have won twice more this season than the Earthquakes so they will feel they’ll have the upper hand in the tie despite being bottom of the Western Conference going into it.

With both sides struggling to have found any real form all season a draw looks a likely possibility in what will be the final regular season game of the 2014 MLS season.

Key Player: Erick Torres – The most positive aspect of Chivas’ season, as he has scored 15 in 28.

Key Stat: Chivas have lost more games than any team in Major League Soccer with 19.

Chivas Last 5: L/L/W/W/L

SJ Earthquakes Last 5: L/L/L/W/D

Prediction: Chivas 2-2 San Jose Earthquakes

Preview and Prediction: Real Salt Lake vs Chivas USA

Real Salt Lake will play their last game of the regular season when they take on Chivas USA in a Western Conference clash at the Rio Tinto Stadium tonight.

Chivas will have one more game after this one when they host fellow strugglers San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday.

The home side will be keen to pick up all three points in their last outing in order to give themselves a chance of finishing in the top three and will therefore avoid the 4th vs. 5th playoff encounter.

They need to do their job here and hope that FC Dallas fail to win against Portland Timbers at the weekend as anything other than a victory means they will face either Vancouver Whitecaps or Portland Timbers in the wildcard game.

Real Salt Lake are unbeaten in their last nine home games, picking up seven wins and two draws, so recent history and standings would suggest they are heavy favourites to win this one.

Real Salt Lake’s home form: Played 16 – Won 10 – Drawn 5 – Lost 1

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[Key Player: Javier Morales, Real Salt Lake]

Chivas USA have had yet another season to forget as they prop up the Western Conference table alongside San Jose Earthquakes.

From their 32 games played this season, they have managed just 28 goals and also shipped 59 at the other end giving them the worst attack and the worst defence in the league.

They have managed to win their last two games though, one of which was a 1-0 success over their opponents in this fixture on 5th October – they also beat Real Salt Lake 1-0 on 29th June, so there is reason to be optimistic.

Before those last two victories, they had been on a 12-game winless streak which saw them pick up just one point in a goalless draw with Vancouver and slump to 11 defeats.

Chivas USA’s away form: Played 16 – Won 3 – Drawn 4 – Lost 9

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[Erick Torres has been the one bright spark for Chivas USA this season with 15 goals]

Key Player: Javier Morales – the Argentinian playmaker has had a good season for Real Salt Lake with 9 goals and 11 assists so we can expect him to be at the heart of things once again.

Key Stat: Chivas USA have only kept one clean sheet away from home this season, so you’d expect Real Salt Lake to grab at least one goal.

Real Salt Lake’s last five: W/L/L/W/D

Chivas USA’s last five: L/L/L/W/W

Prediction: Real Salt Lake 2 – 0 Chivas USA

Three takeaways from Portland’s easy win over Chivas USA

Portland extended their unbeaten streak in MLS to six games on Wednesday night with a 2-0 win over Chivas USA, who fell to their fourth consecutive home loss. We take a look at the main talking points from the game. They are as follows:

1. Fanendo Adi shines on debut.

The 23 year-old Nigerian is on loan from FC Copenhagen in Denmark and he impressed on his debut with a well-taken brace.

With his size and pace, defenses will find it hard to stop the forward, who has plenty more on offer.

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2. Portland has many creative options.

With the Timbers being able to call on any two of four players to create in Michael Nanchoff, Diego Valeri, Gaston Fernandez and Darlington Nagbe, Portland have more than enough supply for their new striker (Adi).

We can see them mounting a very strong charge for the playoffs if they maintain their recent form.

 

3. Chivas lack firepower.

Chivas struggled once again to provide many chances in the final third. Erick Torres is leading the line and he is struggling to make enough of an impression on his own, as at only 5’11, he doesn’t have the size to command such a position.

He has scored eight goals in ten, a commendable feat given the lack of service but Chivas struggle as a team in the final third of the pitch.

Maybe a strike partner could solve this problem?

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Highlights via MLS on YouTube: