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Thursday, December 22, 2011
CHIVAS USA: Minda bolsters deep midfield

By Scott French

Chivas USA has made its first signing from abroad for the new year, and more are likely, although not necessarily one that has been anticipated.

The Goats this week announced they had signed Ecuadoran midfielder Oswaldo Minda, who hadn't exactly been keeping the transaction secret, blabbing weeks ago to the local media that he'd been offered a three-year contract and bidding an emotional farewell to his Deportivo Quito teammates after they won the domestic championship last weekend.

He's a holding midfielder who can do a lot more, says Chivas coach Robin Fraser.

“It's a great signing for our team,” Fraser said Thursday. “He's a player who has been exceptional for his club over the last several years and had some success. He's a player who's a ballwinner, he's an organizer, he's intense. He's a good two-way performer, good going forward as well.”

Minda, 28, who has spent the past four years at Deportivo, adds more depth to a deepening midfield that already had, at least in name, eight potential starters: Nick LaBrocca, Marcos Mondaini, Laurent Courtois, Blair Gavin, Michael Lahoud, Jorge Villafaņa and Ben Zemanski. Oh, and  perhaps Ryan Smith, whose rights were acquired from Sporting Kansas City last month.

Another potential midfielder, 32-year-old Frenchman Nicolas Dieuze, isn't so certain. His agent this week told French website MLS-News that a deal would be completed soon. Not so, Fraser says.

“We're still considering him,” said the coach, who saw Dieuze on trial in October. “We're not really any further than that at the moment, as we look at several other players. He's one of them being considered.”

It's uncertain if Arturo Alvarez, selected from Real Salt Lake in last week's second-stage re-entry draft, will join the Goats -- he's pursuing options in Europe -- but Fraser believes Juan Pablo Angel will be back in 2012.

“I haven't had a detailed conversation with him in a couple of weeks,” the coach said, “but last I spoke to him, I think he wants to come back, and we want to have him back.”

Angel scored seven goals in nine games with the Goats after arriving in August from the Galaxy.