CARSON, CA - MAY 21: Suerte, Panchito! (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Hi everybody! We are back here at The Goat Parade after a short hiatus. Do not fret, the site is still going strong, but I had some personal business to attend to. I apologize that I left you without your daily fix for a little while, but it was for a big event, one that will likely be a once-in-a-lifetime deal. I suppose I could have waited until the offseason, but at least it fell during the bye week, right? And we'll be going strong from here on out!
With that out of the way, let's do a big Chivas USA news roundup of the last week. You may be familiar with these stories already, but maybe there's something in here that you didn't catch.
Perhaps the biggest news is that injuries have hit in the worst time for the Goats. Heath Pearce is out with a hamstring injury, and the official prognosis is that he can return in four to six weeks, although that should be taken with a grain of salt. Hamstring injuries are very difficult to recover from, so he may return and hit the ground running on time, so to speak, or this could linger for months and perhaps even years. So it is best to make sure Pearce is fully recovered for the future rather than brought back too soon for this season.Meanwhile, Zarek Valentin is no longer listed on the injury report after missing two and a half matches with a quad injury. Adam Serrano reports in this article that Valentin may very likely play tomorrow against DC United despite not being 100 percent. To me, it seems like Valentin could go either way, that he probably has a 50 percent chance to start against DC.
Since injury concerns are plaguing the team, Serrano reports in another article that Andrew Boyens may be called into service against DC. Regular readers of this site know how I feel about Boyens. I think he played pretty well early in the season before being benched in favor of Michael Umana. With Umana seeing a lot of playing time during the bye while on international duty for Costa Rica, Boyens and David Junior Lopes saw extended time as the center back pairing this week during training. Although I'm usually not perfect in these predictions, I think Ante Jazic, Boyens, Lopes, and either Valentin or Michael Lahoud will start on defense tomorrow. Lahoud has also battled an injury lately, with an ankle problem, so perhaps the healthiest option of the two will get the call. Also keep in mind that Mariano Trujillo could see action at right back.
The club is also shuffling the squad, and have made at least one significant move already. Fan favorite Francisco "Panchito" Mendoza was cut this week after a frustrating second stint with the club. He was poised to break the team's record for appearances, but will remain tied with Jonathan Bornstein with 123. Mendoza did not see very much playing time this season, and it appears the decision to part ways was mutual. Good luck to Panchito in his future endeavors!
Meanwhile, Robin Fraser and staff have been looking at a couple of trialists to help give the squad more depth. Just to give Chivas fans a tiny sliver of hope that a big-name player will be signed with the top spot in the 2011 Allocation Order, Adam Serrano reports that Fraser is considering the team's options ahead of next week's roster move deadline. At the same time, two players are on trial: Swiss center back Mattias Schnorf, who currently plays for the Atlanta Silverbacks of the NASL, and American defender Mark Bloom, currently with the Charlotte Eagles of the USL Pro division. Needless to say, although one can never be sure what decisions the club will make, it seems with the injury troubles on the backline and with Mendoza's departure at least one defender will likely be brought in, and the price for the trialists will probably be pretty good.
In case you missed the news on the international front, Gabe Dahl has you covered with a couple of blurbs about Chivas' players who got playing time in the recent international break (Michael Umana with Costa Rica, Ante Jazic for Canada, and Alejandro Moreno for Venezuela). All three got some game action, and Umana played full time in both matches for the Ticos. Congrats, guys!
And MLS and Chivas will be commemorating the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks this weekend. The team's official website has a series of articles remembering the event (quick aside: Robin Fraser worked as a day trader? Wow).
The team is also offering free admission for military, firefighters, police, EMTs, and paramedics and their families for tomorrow's game, so if you know someone who is eligible, let them know so they can take in a game for free! Please contact the team to get the details as well.
And finally, stepping outside of the Chivas circle for a moment, we want to offer our condolences to the family and friends of former player and broadcaster Bobby Rhine, who died unexpectedly this week at just 35. Rhine played with FC Dallas from 1999 to 2008 and was involved in Dallas broadcasting and soccer media after his retirement. Tributes have poured in from all over MLS and indeed the world, and even if you weren't familiar with him, it is safe to say he was one of the most respected men in American soccer. It is a tough blow, and we are sorry to lose him. Scott French got some reaction on Rhine's death from Chivas assistant coach Greg Vanney and Pearce, who previously played in Dallas, in this article.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!