Arena: Lopes deal gives Galaxy backline physicality

Junior Lopes and Ryan Smith

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In an attempt to help plug a hole in defense, LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena sought out some help from his closest neighbor.

The Galaxy acquired central defender David Júnior Lopes (above, left) from Chivas USA on Tuesday in exchange for 2011 first-round draft choice Paolo Cardozo. Lopes joins incumbents Tommy Meyer and Andrew Boyens, who have split time alongside A.J. DeLaGarza in central defense.

"He's a big, strong center back, left-footed with good athletic ability and it gives us physicality in that position that we haven't had, and experience," Arena told reporters in a conference call on Tuesday.

Despite not having played much for Chivas USA this year, Lopes could find himself in an immediate battle for playing time, fighting with the rookie Meyer and his former Chivas teammate Boyens.

"I think that with all these type of moves, you need to see how the player deals with the transition, and we're pretty open to what kind of role that he's going to play,” Arena said.

Acquiring Lopes was not, however, an indictment on the kind of job Meyer and Boyens have done, Arena stressed. The Galaxy have yielded 12 goals in all competitions this season but Lopes will help give the club a bit more flexibility and another body on the backline.

"It's a discussion that we've had with Chivas for a while and gives us the ability to strengthen ourselves in that position,” Arena said. “It doesn't say anything. It's a move that we're making to make our team stronger."

Luis Bueno covers the LA Galaxy for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached by e-mail at buenodad@gmail.com.