Chivas USA announced what everybody was expecting on Tuesday, hiring Real Salt Lake assistant coach Robin Fraser as its new head coach.
The Goats want the 44-year-old Fraser to return the team to the Major League Soccer playoffs. They missed the postseason last year for the first time since 2005, finishing last in the MLS Western Conference with an 8-14-4 record that cost coach Martin Vasquez is job after just one year.
It's the first head coaching job for Fraser, one of the best defenders in league history who helped coach Jason Kreis build RSL into one of the most respected teams in the league over the last 3 1/2 years. Fraser was widely regarded as one of the top assistants in the league, who helped RSL's Nat Borchers and Jamison Olave blossom into MLS Best XI stars.
"We are all extremely pleased for Robin to get this fantastic opportunity and know that he will certainly enjoy great success as a head coach in Major League Soccer," Kreis said in a statement. "Robin was an extremely important member of our coaching staff, integral to all of our successes to date. He will be sorely missed, and I want to thank him deeply for what he meant to me, this team, and this club."
Fraser takes over a team in chaos, with a dearth of talent.
Although leading scorer Justin Braun of Salt Lake City remains, the Goats lost two of their best players last year when midfielder Sacha Kljestan joined Anderlecht in Belgium and defender Jonathan Bornstein joined Tigres (CQ) in Mexico after last season. They also parted ways with several other players, while acquiring veteran defender Jimmy Conrad from Kansas City in the new re-entry draft and trading for young forward Tristan Bowen as well as veteran forward Alejandro Moreno.
Fraser was among three finalists for the Chivas job, though he landed it only after first choice Juan Carlos Osorio turned down the Goats to remain head coach of Once Caldas in Colombia. Fraser is expected to hire former teammate Greg Vanney as an assistant, after Vanney helped establish the RSL-Arizona youth academy program.
Team officials at RSL don't expect to hire a replacement for Fraser before the MLS SuperDraft on Jan. 13, the official start of preparations for the earliest season-opener in team history with the CONCACAF Champions League next month.