When Steve Purdy was released from the Portland Timbers late last year it was perhaps not a huge surprise that he immediately showed up on the Re-Entry Draft list. When his name disappeared a couple days afterward though there were certainly a few eyebrows raised. Some wondered if Purdy might go play in the league of his national team, or elsewhere in central America. They were wrong.
Steve Purdy ended up reappearing a few weeks later in the camp of Chivas USA, a team that has been scorned by fans from around the country as lacking a proper identity. The on-field results for the club in recent years hasn't done much to help. So when Chivas USA had yet another management shake up and players began packing their bags, it came as a bit of a surprise that Purdy was on his way in.
Still, as he has been trialing with the team over the last few weeks, he has earned the attention of more than just Chivas' coaching staff. Apparently Los Angeles' large Salvadorian population is absolutely thrilled that he is there.
"Purdy's status as a Salvadorian-American earned him fans in LA from day one of this preseason," stated Alicia Ratterree of SB Nation's Chivas USA blog The Goat Parade. "There's a large Salvadorian population in Los Angeles County, and fans were taking pictures with him on day one of training camp, complete with El Salvador's flag in the foreground."
There's little doubt that Purdy has been impressive on the field. According to Alicia, the right back defender has been training with the team for a few weeks now and has been getting active minutes with the squad since pre-season started. In fact, in the three preseason games Chivas USA has played so far Steve Purdy has played in all three, tallying over 150 minutes for the Southern California club. By contrast, in all of 2012, Purdy saw a total of 188 minutes with the Portland Timbers.
"I talked to him and told him I want him to stay with us." Strong words coming from Chivas USA's new head coach Jose Luis Sanchez Sola otherwise known as "Chelis."
Nothing is set in stone for the former Portland Timbers right back, but he seems to have a lot going for him. Even as a simple marketing vessel, he could be seen as very valuable to the team. Chivas USA, in recent years, has been forced into a distant second place within the Los Angeles soccer market as their attendance numbers have begun to slide. Purdy's Salvadorian pull could certainly help with that.
"I would assume even with the supportive fanbase in Portland, he never got the attention he's garnered so far with Chivas USA fans," stated Alicia.
It's going to be a tough road yet for Purdy, but Alicia thinks he will ultimately get signed by the team. "It isn't guaranteed he's going to be signed, but given the low number of defenders on the roster, and the fact that he's been playing in the preseason, and he's still there, I think it will happen."
Of course, as a fan of not only the Portland Timbers but also the players who don the green and white uniform, it's always nice to see released players eventually end up back on their feet with a new home. The only question that remains is, if Chivas USA signs him, will the Portland Timbers get anything? According to the official MLS roster rules, maybe:
"Subject to the Re-Entry Draft rules, a team retains the right of first refusal to the player indefinitely only if attempts were made to re-sign the player."
There is the distinct possibility that the Timbers never attempted to re-sign him, in which case they would get nothing.
Regardless, Steve Purdy and Chivas USA seem to need each other right now. Purdy needs to find a new club and Chivas USA needs to find more fans. Match ups like this don't get any more obvious.
Read more about Chivas USA and Purdy's potential future at SB Nation's Chivas USA site The Goat Parade.
What do you think of Steve Purdy ending up with Chivas USA?