Tuesday, August 9, 2011
CHIVAS: Lopes scores in Goats debut
By Scott French
CARSON -- David Junior Lopes isn't yet eligible to play for Chivas USA in a real game, but he made his debut in Tuesday's reserve friendly against FC Hasental, impressing during 45 minutes in central defense.
Lopes, signed on a free transfer from Romania's Universitatea Craiova, also scored in the match on Chivas' training field, heading home a cross from fellow newcomer Laurent Courtois in the 28th minute to push the Goats ahead en route to a 3-2 victory over the National Premier Soccer League side from Thousand Oaks.
Chivas is awaiting receipt of Lopes' International Transfer Certificate, and the club hopes it will arrive in time for Saturday's game against Seattle. If it doesn't, the deal might be dead.
The transfer window closes Friday, and general manager Jose Domene said all ITCs must in place by then.
Courtois, signed from French second-division side Grenoble, has his, and he debuted in Chivas' victory Saturday at New England. The Goats also hope to bring in an “attacking” player by Friday; head coach Robin Fraser said he thought things would be clearer Thursday on a potential acquisition.
The 6-foot-3 Lopes, 29, is still working on fitness, but he was a steady hand in the first half and says that “little by little I'll fall into that rhythm, and things will be what they have to be.”
Scoring a goal was a bonus.
“Scoring goals is the maximum thing,” he said. “It doesn't matter whether it's an official game or a friendly, scoring a goal is scoring a goal.”
“He's composed, he's a good passer, he's tactically very strong,” Fraser said. “He's comfortable giving information. ... Hes a big man who's comfortable in his role. You can see hes played in some good sit, and he just looks comfortable.”
Lopes played in his native Brazil, in Portugal, Croatia, Russia and Spain before joining Craiova last year; financial problems let to the club's ouster last month from Romania's top league.
The game in Europe, he says, “is similar to what we have here. A lot of strength, like in Russia, for example. A lot of touch, a lot of possession, like in Romania. It depends where you are. Spain is a combination opf strength and technique.”
It was different, he admits, at Porto, where he played in 2003-04 for Jose Mourinho.
“That was the best year of my life,” he said. “[Mourinho] is the best coach in the world. That was a tremendous school for me.”
A THIRD ADDITION: Chivas is talking to an “attacking player” that Fraser said “might be a significant add.” The player is believed to be from South America, but neither Fraser nor Domene would talk specifics.
“It's still a matter of agreeing [to a deal],” he said. “We're in the process of trying to see if we can make this work.”
Domene is doing the hard work.
“It's a difficult time for him. He's got a lot of balls in the air,” Fraser said. “He's been very diligent, working extremely hard. For me as coach, you want to get this done, do what you can to get this done, and if we complete all the signing we want, we think we'll be quite pleased.”
WORTH NOTING: Marcos Mondaini and Victor Estupiņan also scored goals for the Goats, who dictated play most of the way. ... A highlight was Spanish trialist Karim Barcelo's shot to the upper-left corner, for Hasental's second goal, with just about the game's final kick. ... Paulo Nagamura saw time in central midfield and central defense. Assistant coach Greg Vanney came on at halftime and played most of the second half in midfield, then swapped spots with Nagamura and played on the backline, his natural position.
Home Depot Center, Field 6 (Carson)
Chivas USA: Zach Thornton (Sergio Arias, 46); Michael Lahoud, Andy Boyens, David Junior Lopes (Greg Vanney, 46), Bryan de la Fuente; Mariano Trujillo, Paulo Nagamura, Francisco Mendoza (Victor Estupiņan, 46), Laurent Courtois (Tristan Bowen, 46); Chris Cortez, Marcos Mondaini.
Chivas USA 3, FC Hasental 2
H -- Alberto Anguiano 6
C -- Marcos Mondaini 16
C -- David Junior Lopes (Laurent Courtois) 28
C -- Victor Estupiņan (Mariano Trujillo) 85
H -- Karim Barcelo 88
Yellow card: Trujillo 43.