Is there any question as to who was the most controversial signing for Chivas USA in 2012? When it was announced that Peter Vagenas was training with the club during the preseason, many fans were livid. A player with an extensive history with the LA Galaxy, who was now pretty old, nicknamed "Passback Pete?" It seemed like a desperate move, but with so much roster turnover after the 2011 season and a look to bring MLS experience to the squad, I understood where Robin Fraser was coming from in making the move.
I said heading into the season that if Vagenas played around 15 matches, it could potentially be a good move. Let's take a look at his statistics for Chivas in 2012:
|Games Played||Games Started||Minutes||Goals||Assists||Shots||SOG||Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|MLS Regular Season||13||11||842||0||1||2||1||1||0|
|U.S. Open Cup||3||3||225||0||0||3||2||0||0|
Well, he played 13 league matches, 16 total. It looks like I accurately predicted Fraser's thinking with this move. Although I would have liked to see more attackers on the field at times, Vagenas played pretty well alongside Nick LaBrocca and typically in the place of Oswaldo Minda. Minda's signing was really the key for Chivas' midfield in 2012, but supposing the acquisition didn't work out, or if Minda missed significant time, then having an experienced MLS defensive midfielder like Vagenas looked like good insurance.
In the end, that was a good policy, as Minda did miss quite a few games during the season because of yellow card suspensions and international duty (and later, stupidly, because Shalrie Joseph was on the team). Vagenas stepped up in his stead and played rather well. Certainly, to compare the abilities of the two players this year would make it clear that Minda was by far the superior player, but in limited minutes, Vagenas played well. The team was 3-6-4 in league matches he played in, though, not good overall. Still, Vagenas provided some much-needed leadership on the field, something the team really struggled with, especially early in the season.
Vagenas is currently out of contract, and is still in the mix for the concluding round of the Re-Entry draft next week. I don't anticipate he'll be back with Chivas in 2013, although you never know. At 34, it is probably the end of the road for his playing career, and with a new coach coming to the team, I doubt Vagenas will be in his plans. As a back-up, he was a useful player, but overall was not an indispensable member of the team.
Scoring Threat: D
Peter Vagenas last scored a league goal in 2008.
Playmaker (Passing/Creativity): B-
Vagenas is a volume passer. He was 7th on the team in successful passes despite being 19th on team in minutes played. These were short, mostly lateral passes and only a paltry 11% of his passes reached a forward.
Vagenas was key cog in games in which Chivas won the possession war. But as Alicia has said before, Chivas USA is not Barcelona. The team would have benefitted from more direct play as Chivas was more apt to win when they completed fewer passes and held less possession.
Vagenas was ranked one spot ahead of Courtois on the year-end Castrol Rankings(192 and 193, respectively). This suggests the MLS veteran's defensive abilities outweigh his limited offensive contributions.
As opposed to Courtois, the urbane Frenchman who who was brought in to help spur the attack, Vagenas seemed in his element mixing it up with enemy players. He averaged both a tackle and an interception per game and his possession off the ball at least kept it out of opponents' hands … er feet.
- Matthew Hoffman
I can't believe I'm saying this but I was very wrong about Chivas USA signing him for the season. I know many of us were highly critical of him being on this team, but I think it was a lot better than expected. He may not have been the best player all season, but he wasn't as bad as I thought he would be. That being said, I still wouldn't re-sign him. While he does have the veteran leadership qualities many want on a team, I don't think that's enough to keep him around, especially when you consider what his output on the field is. If they want to keep him around behind the scenes, of course I wouldn't say no. However, as a member of the team? I'd rather not see it.
- Rachna Kapur
What do you think? Leave a comment below!