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Wednesday, February 1, 2012
CHIVAS USA: Iraheta's injury an ACL?

By Scott French

CARSON -- Marvin Iraheta enjoyed a superb Chivas USA debut. It'll be months before he takes the field again with the Goats.



The 19-year-old Salvadoran midfielder, signed as camp opened two weeks ago, suffered an apparent torn anterior cruciate ligament during Chivas' preseason opener Friday morning in Oxnard, and the initial reports from the medical staff aren't good.

“No, it's not good news. It's very disappointing news,” head coach Robin Fraser said after Wednesday's training session at Home Depot Center. “He's had a great couple of weeks for us, he worked really hard to get himself fit in the offseason, he came in in great shape, and he's he recipient of a bad, clumsy tackle. There are certain things you can't prevent for.”

The extent of damage has not been fully determined and surgery has not been scheduled, but Iraheta -- one of the sweetest-natured men in MLS -- confirmed that was next. He wore a small brace on his left knee Wednesday but walked without trouble.

“At this point, it appears it's an ACL,” Fraser said.

That would force him into rehab for at least six months, and eight or nine is likelier. It's doubtful he'll see game action in 2012.

“I think you push him as much as you push anyone [coming back from ACL surgery],” Fraser said. “And if he responds quickly -- some people heal faster than others. If he responds quickly and he's back, that's great.

“Fact is, I think Marvin is going to have a very long, very good career. So the biggest thing is to make sure he comes back right.”

Iraheta (Pasadena/Blair HS) was one of the real standouts in the Goats' 1-0 loss to the Ventura County Fusion, comfortably teaming with veteran Peter Vagenas to give Chivas midfield control in the first of two 30-minute periods. He was signed out of the club's academy, arriving in last year's merger with Cosmos Academy West just a year after winning the U.S. Soccer Development Academy's U-17/18 Player of the Year award.

“I really feel for he kid, because he's been dying to play,” assistant coach Greg Vanney said. “He's a different level of maturity than most 19-year-olds. In the first half of that game [Friday], he looked special for a 19-year-old. He looked very classy and very confident.”

HALL-OF-FAMERS?: Vanney is up for National Soccer Hall of Fame induction for the first time. Ballots went out Tuesday, and Vanney heard about when he was asked for his thoughts Wednesday.

“Obviously, it's an honor to be considered even to be in the Hall of Fame,” said the former Galaxy star, a classy defender who also played in France and with three other MLS clubs. “There are a lot of great players who are there, guys who have given a lot to the game. I'm still here, and I'm still trying to make an impact on the game in a difference perspective than I did as a player. I'm just honored to be considered for it.”

Vanney is one of 12 first-timers on the ballot, all of whom wrapped their playing careers in 2008. The slam dunks are former U.S. national team stars Claudio Reyna, who spent the bulk of his career in Europe, and Tony Meola, one of the four modern goalkeeping greats in the American game.

Former Chivas USA forward Ante Razov also is among the new names, and Fraser is there, too, his fourth time before the voters. There are three more MLS head coaches (Real Salt Lake's Jason Kreis, Philly's Peter Nowak, Sporting Kansas City's Peter Vermes) and two technical directors (Seattle's Chris Henderson and New England's Mike Burns) on the ballot, plus one more player with Goats experience: midfielder John O'Brien, whose career was cut short by injury but who might have been the most talented of all U.S. national-teamers.

Fraser said he was happy to see Vanney as a candidate, but when asked about his candidacy, Fraser offered a dismissive “whatever.” Not on the radar? “No. After this many years, I don't really think about it too much.”

Arguments can be made for Fraser and Vanney as players -- Fraser was among the top tier of MLS center backs and deserved a better national team career than he got, and Vanney was the preeminent left back in American soccer for a spell and missed out on a World Cup through injury -- but without World Cup experience, their best hopes might be later on with the builders committee and based on a combination of what they did as players and are doing as coaches.

“Greg's had a great career and is continuing to do very, very good things in soccer,” Fraser said. “By the time it's all said and done, he'll be a very influential person in the world of U.S. Soccer, so I think it's only a matter of time before he gets in.”

WORTH NOTING: Ecuadoran midfielder Miller Bolaņos is due to arrive Wednesday night in Los Angeles. ... Trialist Ciaran O'Brien, a former Colorado midfielder from UC Santa Barbara, was released following the game against the Fusion. ... Trialist Mario Ledesma, who suffered an ankle injury in the Oxnard game, trained fully Monday and Tuesday and worked with the training staff Wednesday. ... Chivas is looking to play its preseason game Friday at 11 a.m. against FC Hasental on HDC's Field 4, immediately west of the main stadium, south of the access road and next to Avalon Boulevard. It's possible it will be played on Field 6, the Goats' practice field southwest of the stadium.