It looks as if Chivas USA's investment in Ecuadoran midfielders isn't finished.
Reports in South America have Miller Bolaņos, a 21-year-old central midfielder at powerhouse LDU Quito, set for a one-year loan to the Goats. Chivas signed Oswaldo Minda from Deportivo Quito nearly two weeks ago.
Bolaņos, who can create and score goals, was part of LDU's runs to the Copa Sudamericana title in 2009 and to the tournament final in 2011. He played previously for Barcelona SC in Guauaquil.
Neither Chivas nor Major League Soccer have acknowledged the move, but LDU confirmed on its website that Bolaņos was going to MLS, although the Goats were not mentioned in its report. Futbol Ecuador, a website, reported last week that the signing with Chivas was imminent.
Bolaņos' arrival would give the Goats nine potential midfield starters, decent trade bait heading into the Jan. 12 MLS SuperDraft and the opening of camp three days later. Chivas opens its season March 11 against Houston at HDC.
ON THE WAY OUT?: Ecuadoran forward Victor Estupiņan says he's surveying his options and might be heading home.
The 23-year-old striker, acquired on loan from LDU Quito in last year's draft, told Quito radio station Nueva Emisora Central that he “learned a lot there in MLS” and that his employer -- LDU -- was “talking to several teams” about his next stop.
“Let's see what happens,” Estupiņan said. “There may be an opportunity in the U.S., or perhaps return to Ecuador. ... I am eager and motivated. I'm happy with everything. I'm faster and more intelligent in the box. May God grant this is my year and I score many goals.”
Estupiņan famously predicted a 30-goal season when he arrived at Chivas last winter, but he made only 10 first-team appearances -- 410 minutes in all -- with just one goal. He was a regular with the Goats' MLS Reserve League side, scoring a team-best four goals.
No word yet from Chivas on Estupiņan's status, but it sounds as if the club declined its option on the forward's loan.
Estupiņan mentioned four potential Ecuadoran destinations: Emelec, Olmedo, Manta and El Nacional.
ALVAREZ'S PLAN: Arturo Alvarez knows Chivas USA is an option, but he's looking toward Europe. The Salvadoran national-teamer, whose rights the Goats acquired in last month's first-stage re-entry draft, is pursuing possibilities on the continent.
“I’m at the right age to do it, and I have a lot of years of experience playing in MLS because they gave me the opportunity to fulfill my dream of being a professional soccer player,” Alvarez, 26, told MLS's website. “I’m always thankful for that, but I want to go and explore something different.
“There are a few options in Spain and, earlier, I had an option in Germany. There are agents that are trying to help me out to put me places, but at this moment nothing is concrete. I’m going to go on trial, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Alvarez, a winger who played sparingly last season for Real Salt Lake after stints with San Jose, FC Dallas and the reconstituted San Jose, is using Chivas as a safety net of sorts, but Goats coach Robin Fraser has said he wants to determine a roster as the team embarks on its preseason camp in about two weeks and will need to know the Texan's plans sooner than later.
“People like Robin have supported my decision, and that’s something that I really appreciate,” said Alvarez, who likely will spend all of January seeking employment. “If [finding a European club is unsuccessful], then I would come and play for Chivas USA -- that would be great. The thing is that there are options out there and I just want to make sure that I make the right one.”