CHESTER PA - AUGUST 11: Melia: Reportedly now a Goat (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
After an ultimately disappointing 2011 season, Chivas USA got started as soon as they could on 2012 preseason training, holding the first training sessions today. All of these guys should have gotten some offseason training in while away from the club, but being back under the coaches' watchful eyes should help their development and mold a true team. This is certainly needed as the roster is undergoing yet another major overhaul this offseason.
A good amount of news has come out in the last couple of days about Chivas' roster and the start of training camp. Perhaps the biggest news of training itself this morning is that Juan Pablo Angel took part. It still doesn't mean there's an agreement in place, or maybe an agreement is in place and the parties involved have just decided to wait a while to announce it, who knows. My guess is that there is no agreement currently, but both JPA and the team think he'll be with the team for 2012 and he's in training as a sign of good faith and commitment.Other news surrounding the start of training camp: Scott French of ESPN is reporting the signing of goalkeeper Tim Melia, formerly under contract at Real Salt Lake and played in the lower divisions with the Rochester Rhinos, Charleston Battery, and FC New York. The 25 year old is slated by French to be the third-string keeper for Chivas, replacing Sergio Arias, who has returned to Mexico. French notes that Kevin Guppy is still in the running for the 2nd keeper spot, but I guess it isn't final yet. I would be pretty surprised if Guppy doesn't eventually make the team.
On twitter this morning, Adam Serrano reported that Chivas have signed midfielder Marvin Iraheta. The 19 year old previously played for the New York Cosmos U23 squad, and he played in the Paul Scholes testimonial match last fall with a Frankenstein Cosmos squad against a Manchester United squad at Old Trafford. Here's a video of Iraheta's "highlights" from the match. In addition to losing the ball a bunch of times in this video (to be fair, he was playing in the largest stage of his life against some of the sport's greats), he was at fault for a penalty that led to a Scholes PK (tangent: upon further reflection, perhaps there was some kind of "agreement" in place for a penalty to take place in order to give Scholes a chance at a goal in his testimonial match? And playing with the likes of Fabio Cannavaro and Patrick Vieira, who weren't going to trip a dude in the 18-yard box, maybe Iraheta drew the short straw? It's probably just a wacky conspiracy theory, but it wasn't a competitive match, so it's not like anybody would get worked up about it, right?). Here's an interview on the Cosmos' website with Iraheta about the testimonial match, too, if you are interested (Spanish on top, English translation below).
I don't know a lot about Iraheta, and couldn't find a great deal on the internet. He was born in El Salvador, so rumors of his signing was making the rounds among fans of Salvadorean soccer over the weekend. He grew up in the U.S., and evidently lived in California for at least a portion of his life. I'm guessing this move is for depth, as the team is loaded with midfielders and light on defenders and forwards at the moment, so I'm not sure how much first team action he'll get. But he could be a diamond in the rough for the Goats.
French is also reporting on ESPN that defender Rauwshan McKenzie is trialing with Chivas during the preseason. McKenzie attended Michigan State (my alma mater, so you already know how I feel about this) and has had limited action with the Kansas City Wizards and Real Salt Lake. Like Melia, the RSL connection probably helped McKenzie get a shot, as of course Robin Fraser used to be on the coaching staff over there, but this is just a trial at the moment, and we'll have to see if he sticks around beyond the preseason.
French also notes (same article) that midfielder Blair Gavin is still struggling with a bum hamstring at the start of this camp. There have been rumors that the team may try to use a midfielder or two in a trade within MLS for defenders or forwards. Could Gavin be the most likely candidate to be trade bait? He's talented, but like Paulo Nagamura, maybe the team will move him to a team willing to take a risk on his injury history. No indications of any of this publicly, of course, just speculation on my part.
There will likely be more news moving forward concerning camp and roster moves, and we'll keep you updated!
What do you think? Leave a comment below!