CARSON, Calif. – Chivas USA may have gotten their first victory, but injuries are still preventing head coach Robin Fraser from putting his first-choice team on the field.
Chivas USA will once again be without Jimmy Conrad for Saturday’s match against New England Revolution (10:30 pm ET, Direct Kick, MatchDay Live) after the team captain suffered a mild concussion in the Rojiblancos’ defeat to the Colorado Rapids on March 26. The concussion was the fifth that Conrad has suffered during his 14-year professional career.
Saturday marks the fifth straight league match that Conrad has missed while recovering from the concussion. During the veteran’s absence, Chivas USA have relied on Heath Pearce to provide leadership in central defense.
[inline_node:335198]In addition to Conrad, the team will also be without midfielder Michael Lahoud (pictured right), who also suffered a concussion during the club’s scoreless draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps on April 16 when he ran into teammate Nick LaBrocca.
“That’s one injury that I don’t understand,” said Fraser of his players’ concussions. “Out of the many that I’ve had, [a concussion] wasn’t one of them. It seems like it’s the kind of thing that you can feel great one day and not so good the next and, unfortunately, I’ve been around a couple of guys who have had concussions. I know that they go in and out of feeling good and all you can do is wait.”
Lahoud did not train at all this week and Conrad did not train until Thursday, but he only did light training off to the side.
After training, Conrad admitted that the symptoms “come and go,” which may mean that the Rojiblancos will be waiting for a while before their captain can return.
In light of the fact that concussions forced players like Taylor Twellman and Alecko Eskandarian into early retirement, the league established new rules to prevent players from rushing back from concussions too soon.
Conrad and Lahoud must now be asymptomatic for a full week before partaking in full training and they must also see a neuropsychologist to undergo a series of tests before receiving the green light to return.
Unfortunately for Chivas USA, the injury list does not end with Conrad and Lahoud.
Scrappy midfielder Paulo Nagamura, who continues to battle a calf strain, returned to action in the Goats’ draw vs. Vancouver but quickly saw his way back onto the injury list. He hasn’t trained with the team since and has been working with Chivas trainers on the side in hopes of a quick recovery.
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter: @adamserrano