CARSON, Calif. – Chivas USA's brass promised that the club would be active in the offseason to bolster the roster for next season. They made good on that promise quickly, as in the first day of the offseason, the Rojiblancos were the first team to act.
Chivas acquired the rights to English midfielder Ryan Smith from Sporting Kansas City on Monday in exchange for a pair of selections in the 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft. A talented winger, Smith struggled in 2011, coming back from offseason knee surgery but only playing six matches and scoring one goal for SKC before returning to his native country due to family concerns in June.
The 25-year-old also trialed for Spanish club Real Zaragoza in July, but his rights were retained by Sporting.
While Smith may have left Kansas City on difficult terms, Chivas fully expect him to be on the squad in 2012, having added him to their protected list ahead of Wednesday’s Expansion Draft.
“We talked to the player after we acquired him and yes, he really wants to come,” general manager José Domene told MLSsoccer.com.
Domene also admitted that Smith is expected to arrive before the club reconvenes in mid-January. The former Arsenal product and English youth national teamer may have endured a turbulent 2011, but he was a main cog for the Kansas City offense in 2010, scoring three goals and seven assists in 26 appearances.
By trading first- and third-round selections in the 2012 Supplemental Draft, Chivas acquired a player that they believe in can add to the club's developing offense.
“He's an aggressive player who is very skillful,” Domene explained. “He brings a different type of player to what we have.
“We have a a lot of really good players, a lot of possession-oriented players, [and Smith is] one guy that is very vertical and can take on people,” Domene added. “He's got good dribbling skills and a different type of player that is one more piece to our new puzzle in 2012.”
Even with Smith now on board, it's unlikely that he will be the only acquisition the Goats make in the months leading up to MLS First Kick.
“We want to take a good first step and we're actively seeking players that can work,” said Domene. “So we're just going try and find the pieces as soon as possible so that by the start of preseason, we're ready. At the end, we're looking to get the pieces to play the way that the coaching staff wants to play.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org