Nelson Rodriguez has been named the president of Chivas USA. It's another crystal-clear sign that a page has clearly been turned on Los Angeles' "second" team following its sale to MLS.
Throughout Chivas USA's history, they've taken no small pride in eschewing league-wide thinking. From the very beginning, the team had promised a different brand of futbol and attempted to stock the roster with the type of players who few other teams will give serious consideration. It hasn't worked, and that's the biggest reason that the league is now searching for a permanent owner who will take the team in a new direction.
At least for the time being, that direction will be one charted by MLS.
Rodriguez is the almost perfect person to lead it. After 14 years in the league office -- mostly as the executive vice President of Competition, Technical and Game Operations -- there are few that understand what works and what doesn't better than Rodriguez. No, he might not be a sexy pick -- and there are sure to be more than a few fans around the league who don't like what they do know about him after serving as the mouthpiece for the Disciplinary Committee -- -- but he is a safe pick. What he'll probably be doing at Chivas USA won't be considered radical by league standards, but will surely be a departure from how things worked during the past decade.
For all the promises of change and out-of-the-MLS-box thinking, Chivas USA suffered from never really picking a philosophy and sticking with it. Sure, there was a somewhat constant theme of becoming a farm club for Chivas de Guadalajara -- which was broken up slightly during the Bob Bradley and Preki eras -- but even that was hard to fulfill due to the constant turnover of head coaches and top front office personnel.
We shouldn't be expected are bold initiatives or dramatic new ways of thinking. A dose of normalcy could do wonders for this team. Hiring some more smart people, laying the groundwork for a new stadium, making Chivas USA a place decent players want to be: these are his tasks. Rodriguez might not be able to entirely extinguish the Chivas USA dumpster fire, but he can hopefully keep it contained. These aren't bold initiatives, but they are what Chivas USA needs right now.