Santos on the mend for Chivas USA

Striker hoping to figure plenty in Red-and-White’s attack

Chivas USA striker Maicon Santos is back on the pitch and continuing his rehabilitation after injuring the medial collateral ligament in his left knee during a scrimmage against Loyola Marymount University on Feb. 4.

The 25-year-old has looked healthy this past week, jogging around the field during practices and taking a few touches on the ball here and there.

“I feel much better in comparison to even just last week,” Santos said. “It’s been three days now where I’ve put the cleats on and played around a bit, and it’s feeling pretty good.”

Santos joined the Red-and-White last summer on loan from Brazilian side Bonsucesso and made his MLS debut the next day in a 2-0 victory over Toronto. He notched one goal and one assist in ten appearances last year, and he said he’s excited to make his mark this year under new head coach Martín Vásquez.

“I like Martín’s new system,” Santos said. “There’s more work on offense and I’m excited to get involved. I like the Latin American style -- lots of possession and push for scoring goals.”

Even though he was sidelined for much of February, Santos continued to prepare for the 2010 season in other ways.

“I tried to keep my head in the game and be working hard to get back to full health,” he said. “It helps to get back out on the field though and be around the team.”

Once healthy, Santos’ nose for goal will likely figure into Vásquez’s plans for this season.

“When he’s at 100 percent he’s going to be a handful, and he’s going to help us,” Vásquez said. “His injury has been one of the unfortunate things from preseason, but we still have time, and we’ll make sure he’s at the pace and rhythm of the team as soon as possible.”