Galaxy (and Chivas USA) camp update – and a blast from the past

Look what the final week of pre-season camp dragged in.

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How long has it been since we saw Pete Vagenas in a Galaxy uniform?

The former Galaxy midfielder has spent the last week training with his former team as he aims to keep fit after being traded by Seattle to Colorado last year. The Rapids did not pick up his option in the off-season.

Pete was part of a chatty Galaxy team that included Kevin Hartman and Chris Albright who were always good for a great quote or two and as a journalist you can’t ask for more than that.

I’ll have more from Pete below, including his insights into the MLS opener between his two former teams Tuesday in Seattle (6:30 p.m. ESPN).

It was the final day of preseason training for the Galaxy in Carson today in a loose, but spirited session that saw the full 29-man roster in camp.

The most recent addition to fill out the squad is former UCLA center back Sean Alvarado, who was not drafted after his senior year in 2009. He trained with Tottenham until last spring then worked out with Chivas USA.

I didn’t see Donovan Ricketts between the posts today, but he’s still projected as the starter on Tuesday against the Sounders.

The rest of the starting XI according to Galaxy PR (who did not consult with Arena) that will appear in the game notes has Sean Franklin at right back, Todd Dunivant out left and Omar Gonzalez and Leonardo in the middle of defense.

Gregg Berhalter, still working his way back to fitness, will not make the trip and will head up training in his assistant coaches role with the likes of Jack McBean and the other nine players or so that will not trek northward.

Landon Donovan and David Beckham are projected starters on the flanks with Juninho and Chris Birchall in the middle. Juan Pablo Angel and Chad Barrett provide the attacking punch.

The team is mostly based on the one that started in San Diego.

The Galaxy fly to Seattle Monday and will train at Qwest Field in the afternoon.

*Chivas USA lost their final pre-season game in Dallas Saturday 2-0 before a crowd of 6,015 exactly one week before their home opener against Sporting Kansas City at Home Depot Center.

The first goal came from a spot kick after Zarek Valentin handled just outside the box in the 23rd minute, the second from another defensive error. Details here.

Defender Jimmy Conrad was sent off after receiving two yellow cards in a matter of seconds.

Chivas USA lineup: Chivas USA: Zach Thornton, Heath Pearce, Zarek Valentin, Jimmy Conrad, Ante Jazic, Ben Zemanski, LaBrocca, Francisco Mendoza (Mariano Trujillo 76), Marcos Mondaini (Jorge Flores 84), Justin Braun, Alejandro Moreno (Tristan Bowen 76)

Chivas USA players Heath Pearce and Nick LaBrocca sound like their bracing for a long season in the aftermath of the loss:

*Here, as promised is that Q&A with an accommodating Pete Vagenas.

Question: What the heck are you doing here?
Answer: Bruce has been kind enough to come let me train for a little bit. I have to be in California for a little while. And it just works out – I can stay fit.

Q: How does it feel to wear that jersey again?
A: It’s OK. The group has obviously changed. They’ve got a good group here – its obviously been very successful. Everyone knows the Galaxy is at the core of my heart. It’s a club I care about deeply.

Q: I hear you have an iron or two in the fire in terms of MLS
A: That’s what I’ve been told. I’m still waiting to hear. It’s taking longer than I would have anticipated at this point. But, so be it. He doesn’t like sharing the spotlight (Pete is referring to a passing David Beckham as we chat) but he’s got to (laughs).

Q: You’ve trained with both Seattle and the Galaxy in recent months, so you’re a good person to ask. Who is going to win Tuesday?
A: It will be a good game. The atmosphere is going to be electric number one. I know Seattle has been waiting for this because this is the team that knocked them out (of the playoffs) last year.

They can expect a team that’s hungry and that’s going to fight and give them hell. But at the same time I think LA has proven they can go into Qwest stadium and get results. I can’t think of a better way for the MLS season to start to be honest with you. I’m considering flying up to the game (with Cobi Jones) to be part of this one. So it’s going to be exciting.

Q: Have both these teams improved over last year?
A: The squads are deeper now, I think, by six (players). Maybe the talent is a bit more dispersed. But you cannot replace the experience that LA has.

And for me it’s sort of a tale of two teams. You have a team in LA that’s got all the experience in the world. Their starting XI has seen it all, done it all, been through it all, have won the big ones, have lost the big ones. Nothing is going to rattle them.

On the other side you have Seattle and their core group – great guys I can’t say enough about them. But they are trying to get there. They have to sort of get by this group, I think, to sort of know they have achieved. Because whatever they have done in the past two years, I can assure you, it’s a hungry group and they are not satisfied.

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group columnist and blogger Nick Green writes about soccer at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at www.insidesocal.com/soccer and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at www.insidesocal.com/beer. Cheers!
  • Studs Up

    LA should hire Pete in some capacity (other than as a player) and be done with it. He’s passionate about the Galaxy and should definitely be involved. I think the best fit will be with the academy so he can instill the correct team spirit in the young players.

    Welcome home Pete.

  • Studs Up

    Nick,

    Reserves team schedules?