Chivas USA Update: How Many Midfielders Are on the Team Now?
While all the latest soccer hype in LA of late has been about the other team at the Home Depot Center, Chivas USA have quietly yet efficiently started on their 2012 campaign. With preseason beginning last week, the Goats began their preseason with a medical, two-a-days, and the dreaded beep test. The team is currently in Oxnard, California where they will continue training through the end of the week. How has the offseason treated the team, and what needs to happen for Chivas USA to have a better season that last (where they did not play up to standard)? Warning: this is extensive. This post is definitely a bit serious but no fear, I figure it’s best to get the serious stuff out of the way first. Let’s take a look
The major news surrounding Chivas USA in the offseason was the loss of defenseman Zarek Valentin to Montreal Impact in the Expansion Draft. There was some confusion surrounding his status and graduation as a Generation Adidas player, which led to his shock exclusion from the team’s protected roster. Naturally, the Montreal Impact selected him. In the same day, Chivas USA traded Justin Braun and Gerson Mayen to the Impact in exchange for James Riley, whom they picked up in the Expansion Draft from Seattle.
Chivas USA also made headlines when they made a trade for the elusive Ryan Smith from Sporting Kansas City, and in a separate trade with the same team, sent team veteran and fan favorite Paulo Nagamura in exchange for allocation money.
Besides these two major changes, Chivas USA offloaded Michael Umaña, Sergio Arias, Victor Estupiñan, and Marcos Mondaini, Simon Elliott, Mariano Trujillo, Zach Thornton, Chukwudi Chijindu, and Andrew Boyens (who the LA Galaxy picked up in the Re-Entry Draft. Additionally, the team picked up the rights to midfielder Arturo Alvarez, who is currently looking for contracts in Europe.
The team has also signed two Ecuadorian midfielders: Oswaldo Minda and Miller Bolaños. There are rumors (he is basically all but confirmed signed) of Colombian defender John Alexander Valencia joining the team as well.
Midfielder Marvin Iraheta, from the team’s Academy team, has also been signed. The Salvadorian midfielder who joined the academy last year was the 2009-2010 U.S. Development Academy Player of the Year.
Have you kept up with the roster changes thus far? Just so you don’t have to do the math, there are 10 possible starting midfielders (excluding Alvarez, because, well, he’s not actually on the team after all).
It also seems that the team signed MLS veteran Peter Vagenas this week. The coaching staff has been looking for good veteran leadership for the team and feels that he will be a good fit, which is quite interesting considering some of the things he has said in the past about the organization. Known to the fans as the “anti-Chivas” guy, this signing will NOT be popular amongst fans by any means. Though, will he even really get much playing time? Doubtful.
With only one pick in the MLS SuperDraft, the Goats selected forward Casey Townsend from the University of Maryland. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but if any of you reading this also visit Chivas USA blog The Goat Parade, you will know that Alicia Rodriguez and I selected Townsend for the team in the mock draft.
In the Supplemental Draft, the team selected defender R.J. Allen (Monmouth), goal keeper Brian Rowe (UCLA), defender Daniel Steres (SDSU), defender Fabian Kling (Fort Lewis), and midfielder Kevin Vanegas (CSU Fullerton). All but Rowe and Kling began training with the team this past week as soon as they were drafted. Brian Rowe is currently looking at signing with a Finnish team, but will return to LA to train with Chivas USA this week, along with King who is also currently in Europe.
I’ll talk a bit more about these guys in future posts as the preseason goes further and there’s more information on them.
Midfielder Blair Gavin is not with the team due to a personal leave of absence, though it has been said that his previous hamstring problems are still occurring much to my chagrin. As you will soon find out he is one of my favorite players on the team.
Defender David Junior Lopes has not joined camp, nor have the new South American signings as they await their visas.
Juan Pablo Angel has yet to sign a contract for the upcoming season, yet it’s believed that a deal will be made this week.
The following players are also in preseason camp:
Raushawn McKenzie (defender), Ciaran O’Brien (midfielder), Kevin Guppy (goalkeeper), Pablo Sandova (midfielder), Tim Melia (goalkeeper), Patrick McClain (goalkeeper), Mario Ledezma (defender)
Five Academy players are training with the team and under consideration for Homegrown Contracts: Esteban Rodriguez (midfielder), Marco Delgado (midfielder), Eric Gonzalez (midfielder), Jake McGuire (goalkeeper), and Ben Spencer (forward).
Note: The coaching staff is keen on creating as sense of competition amongst the players from the get go, which is why there are many players in many positions in camp. They expect everyone to earn a spot. Hence, five guys battling for the two back-up goal keeping positions. Which, in all honesty, is pretty great. I mean, who wouldn’t want to see these guys duke it out?
Below is the team’s preseason game schedule. If any of you are in the San Diego area, I’ll be at the game against Club Tijuana!
Jan. 27 vs. Ventura County Fusion at Oxnard College
Feb. 3 vs. FC Hasental at Home Depot Center
Feb. 7 vs. Colorado Rapids at site TBA
Feb. 11 vs. Chicago Fire at site TBA
Feb. 16 vs. Galaxy at Home Depot Center
Feb. 22 vs. Club Tijuana (Mexico) at University of San Diego
Feb. 27 vs. AIK (Sweden) at Portland, OR
March 1 at Portland Timbers
March 4 vs. San Jose Earthquakes in Portland, OR