Chivas USA Brings Eriq Zavaleta Back on Loan from Seattle Sounders
On Friday, Chivas USA announced the acquisition of Eriq Zavaleta on loan from the Seattle Sounders in what is the league's second intra-league loan between teams, following Colorado's loaning Tony Cascio to Houston. It is reasonable to believe--though we cannot confirm given that, per MLS policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed--that Zavalelta will not take the field against parent parent club Seattle in any meaningful match.
Zavaleta's rights are retained by Seattle, however this will not be the first time he puts on the uniform for Chivas USA. A native of New Mexico, Zavaleta has played in Chivas' academy, even representing the Rojiblancos with appearances in the MLS Reserve League before heading to college at the University of Indiana.
In Zavaleta, Chivas USA has a young and versatile player who led the Sounders reserve squad with four goals in twelve reserve league games last season. This was following a prolific career at Indiana, where he was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year after finishing as the NCAA's leading scorer as a sophomore in 2012.
Zavaleta also spent two years under the guidance of Chivas USA Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera in the USMNT's U-17 Residency Program. Zavaleta was a member of the team that advanced to the Round of 16 at the 2009 U-17 World Cup, winning the Copa Macae in Brazil.
In a statement, Cabrera remarked, “We know Eriq very well from his time with us in the U.S. U-17 Residency Program and what he’s capable of doing not only playing as a forward but also as a center-back He is going to be a very good addition to our team.”
Wilmer Cabrera is not the only Chivas USA coach Zavaleta has some familiarity with; Eriq is the nephew of former Chivas assistant coach Greg Vanney, who served under Robin Fraser. Seattle benefits from this transaction as well, though their benefits are a little harder to see because Zavaleta remains in the Generation Adidas program and Seattle doesn't get much in terms of salary cap relief.
The primary benefit for the Sounders is probably just being able to find first team minutes for last year's number ten overall pick. Playing behind Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins and Lamar Nagle, it's easy to understand why Zavaleta made five first-team appearances in all competitions, never coming in prior to the 80th minute.
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