Chivas USA reloads: Brazilian midfield destroyer Paulo Nagamura and Venezuelan striker Giancarlo Maldonado are introduced to the media Monday at Home Depot Center (Photo courtesy Chivas USA).
With Thursday’s SuperLiga opener against Puebla looming the reinforcements couldn’t have come at a better time for a Chivas USA team lacking bite in midfield and punch up front.
“(I’m) very optimistic they’re going to help us get on the right track,” said Coach Martin Vasquez.
Another possible signing: Mexican forward Rodolfo Espinoza, most recently of Peru’s Universitario de Deportes, who has been training with Chivas USA since Friday. Formerly with Necaxa, Espinosa, 27, is a creative winger with Copa Libertadores experience who is seen as a replacement for Sacha Kljestan, Vasquez said.
Atalante striker Giancarlo Maldonado became available after he went to Spain on loan with Xerez, didn’t get paid and got lost in the internationals number game when he got back to his Mexican club, Vasquez said.
Nagamura, who had eight goals in 78 appearances for Chivas USA from 2007-2009, and 58 with the Galaxy beginning in 2005, said Chivas USA was “a place I never should have left.” He departed in January as a free agent for Tigres in Mexico.
“I have a family here,” he said of his return. “I have a lot of responsibility for this organization. … I owed them and I hope I can help this team on the field.”
Also, Tigres had a poor season with Nagamura playing 14 out of 18 games. The club replaced their coach and president and “that changed a lot of things,” Nagamura said. So he’s back, in a positive development for Chivas USA, who were not the same team without Nagamura and the now-retired Jesse Marsch.
Possibly on his way out, however: striker Maykel Galindo, who Vasquez sounded as if he’s lost patience with:
“He’s trying to improve his fitness and work so he can help us. He’s a little bit behind Justin (Braun) and (Jesus) “Gringo” (Padilla), Vasquez said. “We want to keep Galindo at his best and if he’s at his best we want him around.”
Of course, it was pointed out that Galindo hasn’t been at his best for a couple of years now. Vasquez did not disagree.
Chivas plays Puebla at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Home Depot Center. Both Nagamura and Maldonado are expected to play.
Also: Justin Braun earned MLS Player of the Week honors after scoring two goals against Kansas City in Chivas USA’s 2-0 win Saturday.