Sporting KC gets Paulo Nagamura
Robin Fraser's rebuilding of Chivas USA continued Tuesday with midfielder Paulo Nagamura's trade to Sporting Kansas City for a supplemental draft choice.
It's a money move, meant to provide cap space for future moves by eliminating the Brazilian's salary -- $225,000 ($230,500 in average guaranteed compensation) -- from the club's books.
"It's a difficult one, because Paulo is a very good player, and we're sad to see him go," Fraser told ESPN Los Angeles. "Certainly, we feel we need to make some changes, and freeing up Paulo's salary was the objective. ... We'll miss him, but we felt this was an opportunity to make some changes and free up the money."
In return, Chivas gets the No. 5 selection in January's supplemental draft, which it had sent to Sporting in last week's trade for midfielder Ryan Smith.
Fraser, who retooled the Goats' roster in his first season as head coach but failed to guide them into Major League Soccer's playoffs, said that "over the next six weeks, we intend to be making a few moves. Everything we do is with the intent that at the end of the day, the team that gets on the field at the beginning of 2012 is better than the team that finished 2011."
Nagamura, 28, is one of MLS' finest defensive center midfielders when he is healthy, but he was limited this season by calf and foot injuries to 11 league games, with just six starts. He made just four appearances, with one start, the second half of the season.
The seven-year MLS veteran had been with Chivas since 2007, with a six-month stint in Mexico with UANL Tigres in 2010. He made 107 league appearances for the Goats, scoring nine goals with nine assists. He played in 2005 and 2006 for the Galaxy, was taken by Toronto FC in the 2006 expansion draft and joined Chivas in trade six months later.
"I am very excited to join Sporting Kansas City," Nagamura said in a statement released by Sporting. "I watched them the entire year during their run to the (Eastern) conference final, and I'm happy to be part of the team, add depth to the midfield and fit right in. I will work 110 percent for the team to help reach our goal of winning championships."
Said Sporting coach Peter Vermes: "Paulo Nagamura is a player within the league that we have watched and targeted for a few years. We are happy that the timing has worked out, where we could acquire him from Chivas USA. His experience and leadership will be a valuable addition to Sporting Kansas City."
Scott French covers MLS for ESPNLosAngeles.com.