Chivas USA is set to make Real Salt Lake assistant Robin Fraser their third head coach in as many seasons, according to a report in ESPN Deportes. Fraser has been with Real Salt Lake since 2007. During that time, Fraser has helped Jason Kreis engineer a turnaround that has taken RSL from the bottom of MLS to one of the model franchises.
The year before Fraser and Kreis were hired, RSL finished at the bottom of the Western Conference and posted the third worst goal-difference in the league. Within two seasons, RSL made their first ever playoff apperance. In Year 3, RSL won the MLS Cup. Last year, RSL finished second in the race for the Supporters' Shield and led the league in both goals scored and goals allowed.
Fraser also spent 10 seasons as a player in MLS and earned 27 caps for the United States Men's National Team, primarily earning time as a defender. He was named MLS Defensive Player of the Year in 1999 and 2004. His primary role at RSL was coaching the defense, but he was also instrumental in bringing in players like Jamison Olave and Nat Borchers.
If previous reports are to be believed, Fraser is Chivas USA's backup plan. Various outlets had reported that Juan Carlos Osario was set to be hired before he accepted a job in Colombia. That came on the heels of Chivas USA firing Preki in 2009 after three straight playoff appearances and the firing of Martin Vazquez after the Goats missed the playoffs last year. In recent years, U.S. internationals Jonathan Bornstein, Sacha Klejstan and Brad Guzan have all left the team. To say Chivas USA lacks stability is probably a massive understatement.
This would be Fraser's first head coaching position and there's no question it would represent a significant challenge. Judging from his track record, there's no reason to think he's not up for it, but there is reason to wonder if he'll be given a fair chance to succeed.