CARSON, Calif. – After dealing with a bloated injury list to start the season, it appears that Chivas USA are at long last approaching a clean bill of health.
As of Wednesday, veteran attacker Alejandro Moreno (above) has been removed from the injury list after missing last weekend’s defeat to the Colorado Rapids as well as midfielder Pete Vagenas, who had been out four weeks with fractured ribs. Apart from Marvin Iraheta, who is out for much of the season with an ACL sprain, only midfielder Ben Zemanski remains on the injury list due to an MCL sprain.
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Zemanski has been absent for the past two games due to the knee injury he suffered during a 1-0 victory over Toronto FC on April 14. Currently listed as probable for Friday’s clash against the Chicago Fire (11 pm ET, ESPN Deportes), the midfielder spent much of Tuesday’s practice attempting to regain confidence in his injured right knee.
“I’m close, it’s just that final stretch of getting confidence back in my knee, but I feel like I’m close,” Zemanski said. “I can pass the ball. I’m doing some [running] and cutting. It’s getting stronger, but there’s just that final stretch. I’m trying to get back out this week, but hopefully this week or next.”
Meanwhile, in the case of Vagenas, the veteran took part in full contact drills for the first time on Tuesday, but did so with a little extra protection for his ribs. During training, Vagenas wore a flak jacket of sorts to protect his chest and bolster his frame, which is listed at 5-foot-8 and 157 pounds.
“How heavy is this?” Vagenas asked before allowing reporters to lift the jacket themselves. “That's too much, isn't it? I'm 150 pounds, 170 with this. I put this on, and I feel like Alejandro Moreno. I'm pushing guys over, I'm fouling everybody and I’m holding guys off.”
But all jokes aside and “barring any setbacks,” the lively veteran midfielder believes that he will be available for selection for Friday’s match.
“I’m doing well,” Vagenas said. “[It’s been] four weeks yesterday. They say around four to six weeks these things heal. Last week, I started to do some things, it wasn't quite there. [Tuesday] was my first real day. I took a few shots, which are good. You need to get hit a few times. So, hopefully, it's past me.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.