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Tuesday, January 10, 2012
GALAXY: Lopez returns to Quilmes

By Scott French

Miguel Lopez's loan assignment with the Galaxy has ended, and has the Argentine midfielder/forward has returned to Quilmes, the suburban Buenos Aires club has confirmed.

Paolo Cardozo's situation isn't so clear.

Lopez began training last week with Quilmes, which is preparing for next month's start to the Clausura campaign in the second-tier Nacional B Division. The Galaxy, which signed Lopez on loan last January, has not announced any move involving the player, who told an Argentine newspaper that his time in L.A. was most beneficial.

“The experience was very positive,” Lopez said, according to reports in Diario Perspectiva Sur. “The city, the people, the club, everything was very good -- both on and off the field. And the experience helped me grow as a player, taught me another kind of football that can help me contribute here. Because it is a very physical football [in MLS], and that helped me a lot.”

Cardozo, whom the Galaxy selected in the first round of last year's MLS SuperDraft, also was set to return to Quilmes, according to Diario El Sol, which quoted head coach Ricardo Caruso Lombardi as saying he needed “to see the two players. If I like them both, then they'll be welcomed here.”

Lopez was on the roster for Quilmes' camp this week in Mar del Plata, but Cardozo is not on the list.

Lopez, 23, started 14 and played in 24 league games for the Galaxy last season, scoring a goal and adding three assists. He played in 32 first-team games in all.

Cardozo, who impressed last season with extraordinary skill on the ball -- he was the Galaxy's most technical player -- started eight and played in 18 league matches and featured in 27 first-team games. He also played in all nine MLS Reserve League matches, scoring two goals.

UPDATE (3:30 p.m.): Galaxy coach/GM Bruce Arena confirmed Tuesday that Lopez has returned to Quilmes but that he anticipates Cardozo, who is on loan from Quilmes, will return to the Galaxy this season.

He also said New Zealander defender Andrew Boyens, selected from Chivas in the re-entry draft, has been signed and that the club is looking to extend the loan agreement with Sao Paulo for central defender Leonardo.

NO CONWAY: Goalkeeper Jon Conway, whom the Galaxy selected in last month's second-stage re-entry draft, announced his retirement Tuesday after 12 seasons in MLS.

“After talking to [Galaxy] coach [Bruce] Arena about the opportunity in L.A. and evaluating my options, it just felt like a good time to transition out of the game,” Conway said in a statement released by the Chicago Fire, his last club. “It’s been a pleasure to witness the growth of the sport and the league in the United States.”

The Galaxy have two returning goalkeepers -- Josh Saunders and Brian Perk -- and last month signed Nick Noble, a former Fire backup who arrives after two seasons with Swedish second-division club Ljungskile SK.

PERK WITH U-23S: Perk (Santa Margarita/Tesoro HS and UCLA) has been added to the U.S. under-23 national team roster for the camp that's going on at Home Depot Center.

Former Ohio State goalkeeper Matt Lampson, signed by Columbus last month as a Home Grown Player, and Stuttgarter Kickers defender Royal-Dominique Fennell also were added. San Jose goalkeeper David Bingham and Portugal-based defender Gale Agbossoumonde pulled out with injuries.

The U-23s, preparing for the Olympic qualifiers in March, are at HDC until Jan. 25 and Friday play the first of two scrimmages against the full U.S. national team.

BIRCHALL'S FUTURE: Midfielder Chris Birchall, who is out of contract but has been offered a new pact by the Galaxy, has drawn interest from Scottish power Rangers FC and English second-tier clubs Leeds United and Doncaster Rovers, according to Sky Sports.

ELSEWHERE: In other MLS news ...