Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser says he hasn't made up his mind yet whether to add English winger/forward Jason Banton to his roster, but he'll have to. Quickly.
The transfer window closes Friday, after which Major League Soccer clubs will be unable to bring in players under contract to foreign clubs until the summer window opens July 15. Banton's rights are owned by Liverpool FC, and the Goats likely will bring him in on loan, if they bring him in.
The 18-year-old attacker, who scored a goal and set up another in Chivas' reserve side's 2-0 victory last weekend over the L.A. Blues, has returned to England, which typically means one of two things: He's gone. Or he's home to get his work visa, a necessary step in the transfer process.
"It's a big puzzle (building a team)," Fraser said after training Thursday at Home Depot Center. "You never really feel like you've seen enough, but you've got to go with your gut feeling at some point, and like I said [last weekend], it's how the money, everything fits into the puzzle."
Fellow trialist Kerry Baptiste, a 29-year-old Trinidadian forward, is not under contract, so Chivas can take its time in determining whether he's a good fit for its goal-lite attack. He also played in the game against the Blues.
"Kerry's done all right this week," Fraser said. "He did pretty well in our 11-v-11 yesterday. He's a forward who likes to be in front of the goal, which is good, and we'll have to make a decison on him shortly as well."
INJURY UPDATE: Central defender Jimmy Conrad is still trying to get through a week without symptoms following his concussion sustained March 26 against Colorado. That's the first step in MLS's post-concussion protocol.
"It's a day-by-day situation," Fraser said. "Obviously, dealing with concussions, it's just wait and see. I think he's had good days and bad days, and that's just how concussions seem to work."
Mariano Trujillo's tender hamstring hasn't bothered him this week, and Simon Elliott's knee is completely healed. Both will surely see time this weekend in Vancouver, if not in Saturday's MLS clash against the Whitecaps, then in Sunday's MLS Reserve League game.
Midfielder Paulo Nagamura (calf strain) has returned to training but won't travel to British Columbia -- "I don't think that would be wise, but he's really, really made strides in the last couple of weeks," Fraser said -- and defender Seth Owusu is out because of an ankle injury.
Midfielder Blair Gavin returned to L.A. this week after a week in Konstanz, Germany, where he sought treatment on his ailing left hamstring with Dr. Kurt Mosetter, who practices an alt-medicine "myoreflex" therapy to treat and regenerate muscles.
WORTH NOTING: Fraser has toyed with a 4-4-2 alignment in training this week, with Elliott and Ben Zemanski in central midfield, Nick LaBrocca and Jorge Flores on the flanks, and Marcos Mondaini just underneath striker Alejandro Moreno. Odd man out: Justin Braun. ... Montclair's Nick Rimando notched his 76th career shutout in Real Salt Lake's 1-0 victory Wednesday night over Colorado, pulling into a tie for second on the all-time MLS list with Chivas' Zach Thornton. Palos Verdes' Kevin Hartman, now at FC Dallas, is No. 1 with 94. ... Chivas USA is neither confirming nor denying reports from France that 36-year-old Brazilian midfielder Ze Roberto, who was on Brazil's 1998 and 2006 World Cup rosters, had received a contract offer from the Goats, but Fraser acknowledged that discussions probably took place with him or his representatives. "To be honest, I’m sure that we’ve had some discussions somewhere along the line, but I don’t know where it stands at the moment." Ze Roberto, who has spent 12 of the past 13 seasons in Germany, would be available after his contract with Hamburger SV expires this summer and could sign a pre-contract with the Goats.