Chivas USA have officially brought another trialist into the fold this preseason, as defender Rauwshan McKenzie announced on twitter today that he has signed with the club. He spent the last two years in Real Salt Lake, where Chivas coach Robin Fraser knew him from his time as an RSL assistant coach, although he didn't make very many appearances, considering he was behind Nat Borchers and Jamison Olave, arguably the strongest center back combination in MLS.
Prior to RSL, McKenzie was drafted by the Kansas City Wizards in 2008, and stayed until 2009, not making many appearances there either. Prior to MLS, he played collegiate soccer at Michigan State University, one of the finest colleges on the planet (could be a slight exaggeration, but humor me, as a proud Spartan myself). He seems to be a player who has good skills and potential, but who hasn't gotten a full chance yet in MLS. Considering Chivas' defensive woes in 2011, he may get a chance to establish himself and get some sustained action.It does seem McKenzie will start the season as a backup, with Heath Pearce and John Valencia the likely starters on March 11 against the Houston Dynamo. But with the fixture congestion that will occur on at least a few stretches of the season, McKenzie will likely still get game action, even if the starters stay healthy and productive all season.
Most promising, McKenzie has gotten universally positive reviews this preseason with Chivas, and his performance has been rewarded with a contract. Over at ESPN, Scott French seems to believe that McKenzie plays a better game than his backup center back counterpart, David Junior Lopes, who reportedly entered training camp in excellent shape, but who French calls "erratic."
McKenzie is getting a third chance at a new start in MLS, and let's all hope he can contribute and make the Goats a better team in 2012. Welcome Rauwshan!
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