CARSON, Calif. – It seems that whenever Chivas USA returns one player from injury, another replaces him on the disabled list.
Chivas welcomed back Heath Pearce on Sunday as the center back went a strong 45 minutes in the 1-0 defeat to the LA Galaxy, but the news was not as promising for several of his teammates.
Forward Justin Braun – whose eight goals have him tied for second on the team – missed the game with a calf injury that’s been bothering him for two weeks.
The diagnosis was much more severe for right back Michael Umaña. The Costa Rican defender has been out since returning from international duty last week with an injury that was diagnosed as an MCL sprain. Following the match against the Galaxy, head coach Robin Fraser admitted that he may be out for Chivas' season finale on Saturday against the Seattle Sounders.
“I'm not ruling anything out yet, but it is possible,” said Fraser. “I don't think that he's in the equation at this time.”
Nagamura to return?
Another member of Chivas USA who has struggled with injuries this season is tenacious defensive mid Paulo Nagamura.
Nagamura, who re-joined Chivas during the 2010 season after a stint with Mexican side Tigres, had been labeled as one of the front runners for a starting position entering 2011. Injuries laid waste to that plan, as the Brazilian has managed just 11 appearances this season. The latest is a broken right foot sustained in a defeat to the Portland Timbers on Aug. 25 that has kept him out for the last two months.
With Nagamura still wearing a boot, Fraser will need to make a tough decision whether or not to retain the midfielder for next season.
“He's a good player and he will be evaluated at the end of the year,” Fraser said. “I think that everyone on the roster is going to go through that evaluation, and we're going to do what we need to do to make the team better for next season.”
Youth earn victories
Chivas USA's youth academy earned a pair of victories this past weekend over defending U-18 USSDA champions Pateadores. On Saturday, the Rojiblancos U-18s – managed by former MLS defender Dan Calichman – defeated Pateadores, 3-0. The match featured stellar play by Chivas standouts Ben Spencer, Estaban Rodriguez and Marco Delgado, all of whom have been training with the first team as of late.
Down an age-group level, the Chivas U-16s – coached by former Chivas USA midfielder Mike Munoz – hung a 1-0 defeat on Pateadores' U-16s. The victory kept the Chivas U-16s on the top of the Southern California USSDA Youth table with three wins in three matches.
In other action Chivas' U-16 forward Bradford Jamieson went 13 minutes for the US U-17 squad during their action in Spain.
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.