CARSON, Calif. — It's still early in the preseason, but Chivas USA have already received a boost in their 2012 preparations. It came earlier this week when Blair Gavin returned to action after missing the first two weeks of camp.
The midfielder was back at the training ground on Monday after missing the start of the preseason to deal with personal issues. With the issues now resolved, the 23-year-old is happy to be back on the field.
“It’s nice, the team is very supportive of it and it’s just good to be back,” Gavin told MLSsoccer.com. “Everything is good. I’m very optimistic. I’m just enjoying every day. We’ve got a new team dynamic so preseason is the time to learn and get used to each other. We’re just trying to grow as a team.”
After missing the start of preseason, Gavin has spent considerable time this week getting up to speed physically as he integrates himself into the squad. Fitness is of particular importance to the Akron alum, who has struggled with hamstring injuries since entering the league in 2010.
Free of his physical and mental burdens, Gavin still faces an uphill battle as he looks to break into Chivas’ stacked midfield, but the third-year player is not backing away from the challenge.
“We’ll see, preseason is a long time,” said Gavin. “We all have certain qualities that we bring to the game, and different opponents bring different qualities. So I think that we’ll all work together and come out with a common result because we want to win.”
Iraheta to have ACL surgery
In an offseason dominated by big-name signings around the league, one of Chivas USA’s acquisitions flew under the radar. Marvin Iraheta wasn’t that well-known, but his talent was obvious, and it looked like he’d compete for a place in the midfield rotation.
On Thursday, however, Chivas learned they’d be without the youngster for up to six months due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, an injury suffered in last Friday’s scrimmage against the Ventura County Fusion.
“The MRI confirmed [the injury],” Chivas strength and conditioning coach Jim Liston told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday. “He’s going to have to go in for surgery. In six months we’ll be able to get him back on the field. It’s a sad day for Marvin and for everyone on the team because he’s a great kid and looked like he was ready to be a pro.”
The 19-year-old has been walking around normally — albeit with a brace on his left leg. The injury may be a major blow to the youngster’s plans, but Liston is not closing the door on him contributing this season.
“He’s a composed and mature man, he’s not a kid anymore,” said Liston. “People think that he could have been a contributor this year and this doesn’t mean that he can’t now. You look at June and July, there are a lot of games that we play from July 1 on.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org