Los Angeles Soccer: Teddy Chronopoulos
CARSON -- The common thread running through virtually every move Chivas USA has made since Robin Fraser was appointed head coach last January has concerned character.
Fraser, once among the finest and most regal center backs in American soccer, and chief assistant coach Greg Vanney, also a dignified defender, are firm believers that doing things the right way, refusing to cut corners, is the only path to true success.
That philosophy has been central in their rebuild of the Goats' roster, with so many of the most important additions -- defenders Heath Pearce and Jimmy Conrad, midfielder Simon Elliott, forward Alejandro Moreno -- players with experience, strong leadership characteristics and uncommon character.
Juan Pablo Angel, acquired in a trade this week from the Galaxy, is something else.
The 35-year-old striker might be the most stately figure in Major League Soccer, a standard-bearer in training and preparation, in his duties to his teammates and his club, is his dealings with opponents and officials.
That, alone, makes him the perfect fit for the Goats.
That he can score goals -- and that Chivas needs a primary goal scorer -- makes it all that much better.
“I heard about [his character] coming into this, and we were able to spend a little time together throughout this process,” Fraser said. “And as impressed as I've been with him as a player for many, many years, I'm even more impressed with the person he is. ... He epitomizes what we want to do here. He's about hard work, he's about the team.”
His training regimen, experience and precision in the box will be a boon for Justin Braun, Chris Cortez and Victor Estupiņan. Rarely do young forwards in this country get to learn from so accomplished a master.