With a very busy offseason week for Chivas USA, it's no surprise there's some news to bring your way. Let's get started!
Perhaps the biggest story coming out of the player personnel moves (Zarek Valentin, Justin Braun, Gerson Mayen out; Ryan Smith, James Riley in) that took place this week comes from Scott French at ESPN. French spoke with Chivas coach Robin Fraser following the Expansion Draft. Fraser explained that the reason why Valentin was left unprotected for the draft was that the team didn't think he would "graduate" from the Generation Adidas program after just one season. Given that development, the front office didn't believe he would be worth paying so much next season (French quotes the figure at $80,000 base salary next season) and beyond, so basically, they seemed content to let him go for nothing. No word on why they didn't try to flip him for a player in a trade to get value back.And in perhaps adding another layer to the situation, French spoke to Chivas assistant coach Carlos Llamosa, who explained that Jorge Flores was protected in the Expansion Draft because of his 'value' which means he makes close to the minimum (he made $60,000 in 2011; $42,000 is league minimum). I haven't done my season review for Flores yet, and I think he ended the season on a poor note, but I don't think he necessarily needs to go. But protecting him and leaving Valenin exposed? Uh, yeah, that is crazy, frankly. But what's done is done. And this incident seems to indicate what Chivas' fans fear most: the club is still eager to pinch pennies, no matter the logic.
In other news, the acquisition of winger Ryan Smith is still a bit puzzling, but at least we should wait and see what we get out of him before deciding on the move. Adam Serrano talked to Chivas GM Jose Domene about the move, and Domene insists Smith will be joining the club, despite leaving Sporting Kansas City abruptly in the middle of 2011. Domene also promises there will be more players coming into the squad before the season begins.
Gabe Dahl discussed Smith with Chivas assistant coach Greg Vanney on the club's website, who also seemed excited by the move, and indicated that the team had been targeting Smith "for a while." If Smith can indeed run at defenders, as Vanney believes, that will be a much-needed upgrade from the 2011 Goats, who consistently suffered from a lack of aggression in the attacking third.
Serrano also talked to Fraser and Llamosa for the league website about picking up James Riley, who I'm finding I like more and more the more I read about him. It seems Riley is the clear-cut right back for 2012, and he is capable of moving up the field and attacking in addition to defending, so that will be an upgrade from Valentin's play in 2011. It seems Chivas was serious about mixing up the squad for 2012, and while some of these moves look kind of crazy at the moment, if good players are brought in (a big if, of course) and if the squad improves, it will be worthwhile.
Here's the weekly Chivas Youth Academy update, on the club's website. Is there a chance we could see any of the older juniors on the senior team next season?
What do you think of these stories? Leave a comment below!