Chivas whittles pool to 3 candidates

Chivas USA's search for a head coach is in its final stages, and a club source says management has trimmed the pool of candidates to three.

No word on whether former Chicago Fire and New York Red Bulls head coach Juan Carlos Osorio is one of the three.

Osorio, a Colombian coach who went to college and has coached extensively in the U.S., is currently in charge of Once Caldas in Colombia. He was in charge of the Fire in 2007 and left the club after the season to become coach of the Red Bulls. He resigned in August 2009 with New York holding the worst record in MLS.

Speculation in the U.S. coaching community is that Osorio might get the job, but Chivas USA spokesman David Lindholm said the club would not comment on specific candidates.

“The process is in the final stages, and there is a smaller list of candidates” being considered, Lindholm said. “Stephen [Hamilton, Chivas USA's director of soccer] has said that he's hopeful to have a hire by Christmas, and that is still the case.”

Lindholm wouldn't confirm nor deny that three candidates remain. Hamilton was not made available.

“What I can tell you,” Lindholm said, “is we've not made an offer to anyone and we've not made a decision on a specific candidate.”

The initial list of about a dozen candidates included Real Salt Lake assistant coach Robin Fraser, a former star defender for the Galaxy; former Chivas USA midfielder Jesse Marsch, who retired after the 2009 season to join U.S. national team coach Bob Bradley's staff; and former U.S. national team striker Eric Wynalda, who plans to include Chivas legends Ramon Ramirez and Claudio Suarez on his staff if he's hired.

Chivas USA also is believed to have spoken to several candidates in Mexico, including some involved with Club Deportivo Guadalajara, Chivas' parent club.