BY ADAM SERRANO
To get back to the playoffs, Chivas USA are turning to someone familiar and someone new.
On Monday afternoon, Chivas USA unveiled their new signings Giancarlo Maldonado and Paulo Nagamura. The signing and resigning of the two players fill vital cogs in the Rojiblancos line up that the club has been searching for since getting off to a slow start this season.
"I'm very optimistic and positive in the pair strengthening our team and I'm very optimistic about them helping our team get on the right track, now more than ever I feel that this is still in our hands," said Vasquez. "Giancarlo and Paulo are going to give us the possibility to change up our line up and be strong in every position."
The forward known as 'Maldogol' in his native Venezuela joins the club after spending 2009 with Spanish side C.D. Xerez and Mexican club Atlante. Maldonado has been training with the club for several weeks. Although Maldonado earned the Golden Boot of the Americas in 2007 after scoring 25 goals in league play for Atlante, the forward has scored just a paltry 5 goals in subsequent seasons including a single goal in 2009.
"Every goal scorer goes through streaks and its just part of my career," said Maldonado. "I don't need to be the only goalscorer on this team as they have a number of players who can produce goals, I need to find my rhythm and once I find it, the goals will come for Chivas USA."
The Venezuelan was initially rumored to be brought in as a swap with U.S. International Jonathan Bornstein who is out of contract at the end of the season, but the Chivas USA head coach shot down rumors of Bornstein leaving the club.
"Giancarlo is now officially part of Chivas USA and Jonathan Bornstein will be starting for us on Wednesday and it is what it is," said Vasquez. "That's how things are right now and we're excited that Jonathan is still with us and it is just speculation about him moving to somewhere else."
Nagamura returns to Chivas USA after being released from Mexican club Tigres after roster upheaval a disappointing 10th place finish last season. The club has sorely missed the presence — both on the field and in the locker room– of the defensive midfielder since he departed for Mexico. Nagamura's ability to break up attacks and aid on the counter-attack will be valuable for a club that has surrendered 22 goals in league play this season, third most in the Western Conference.
The midfielder returns to a side that has changed greatly from the club that made the playoffs last season due to the departures of key players like Sacha Kljestan and Jesse Marscha however, the addition of key additions Blair Gavin and Osael Romero among others have Nagamura optimistic of a turnaround in the second part of the season.
"This year has been the start of a rebuilding process and its very hard to do well when you lose seven or eight guys," said Nagamura. "We have a lot of qualities and as long as we get on the same page with the coaching staff then we're going to get better."
Nagamura and Maldonado return to a club that is currently undefeated in two games, but earned their first victory since May 5th on Saturday with a win over Kansas City. The two players will be eligible for the club's opening Superliga match against Puebla on July 15th. Vasquez admitted timing of the tournament was very fortunate for his two new signings due to their experience against Mexican opposition.
"Superliga comes at a good time for us because its going to help us incorporate our two players from the very start," said Vasquez. "Going into our next league game (on July 24th), we hope to get them into their full rhythm so it is very good time for us."
ESPINOZA TRAINING WITH CHIVAS USA
During the press conference for Nagamura and Maldonado, Vasquez announced that the Mexican winger Rodolfo Espinoza has been on trial with the club since Friday. The attacking midfielder played last season with Peruvian League champions Universitario de Deportes.
Espinoza scored five goals last season for La U and is currently out of contract and looking to explore options in MLS. Vasquez stated that other than Espinoza, the team was not looking to bring in any other players.