CARSON, Calif. – After spending the latter part of 2011 with Chivas USA, David Júnior Lopes set some goals for the new year.
Fighting for a spot on the LA Galaxy’s backline was not one of them.
Lopes was dealt across the hall from the Red-and-White to the Galaxy on Tuesday. While he was surprised by the timing and suddenness of the deal – Lopes played for Chivas USA a few hours before the trade was made official – he said he is quite content nonetheless.
“This is a good group with some very good people and some great players like David Beckham, [Landon] Donovan, Robbie Keane and the rest of the players,” Lopes said Thursday after his first training session with his new club. “I swear to you, I’m happy. I only hope to do my best so I can play.”
Lopes appeared in eight games for Chivas last season but, despite his best efforts, was unable to unseat either of the starting center back tandem of Raushawn MacKenzie and Heath Pearce. All things considered, Lopes wasn’t expecting a trade, especially since he hadn’t logged any regular-season minutes.
“[I was] a bit surprised because I haven’t played a whole lot over there and now I’m here with the Galaxy, who are a big club, and I have to show a lot to play here,” Lopes said.
The Galaxy hope the 23-year-old Brazilian can help give the team more options in the back and perhaps help stop the bleeding defensively. In four regular-season games, LA have allowed eight goals and have yet to record a clean sheet. In six games across all competitions, the Galaxy have given rookie Tommy Meyer and former Chivas defender Andrew Boyens each three starts.
Lopes hit the ground running Thursday, and Arena did not rule out the possibility that he could be used in some capacity for Saturday’s home match against the Portland Timbers (10 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
“It’s his first day on the job here and he actually had a good first day,” Arena said. “He’s an interesting player. I think he’ll be able to help us. … We’ll see how he feels [Friday] and we’ll make a decision obviously in the next day as to what kind of role he might play.”
Luis Bueno covers the LA Galaxy for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.