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Monday, February 6, 2012
CHIVAS USA: Minda's choice? His heart

By Scott French

CARSON -- Oswaldo Minda grew into a commanding central midfielder while with Deportivo Quito, where he won three Ecuadoran titles in four years before signing with Chivas USA in December.

His new club, of course, is strongly affiliated with the original Chivas -- Club Deportivo Guadalajara. The Goats are, more or less, under their big brother's umbrella.

So when Deportivo Quito plays Tuesday night at Guadalajara in a Copa Libertadores group opener, who is Minda cheering for?

“Oh, you're putting me on the spot here ...,” he said through a translator. “It's going to be a very dynamic game.

“Quito's bringing in a lot of young players. They're a team that's very dynamic, and this is a group that's been together for four or five seasons. I saw [Guadalajara] play against Morelia [on Saturday]. It's a team that unfortunately has a lot of problems -- they're very young, primarily. As time goes by, they'll bring it back. They'll be all right.”

Guadalajara is struggling -- winless in its first five matches in the Mexican Primera Division's second-half Clausura championship after posting the best regular-season record in the fall Apertura. Deportivo, with Minda, just won the Ecuadoran title, and it's making its fourth straight trip to South America's club championship (and seeking its first knockout-stage berth since 1989).

Minda says he'll be watching (Fox Deportes, 6 p.m.) with Ecuadoran friends, and that he hopes it's “a good show for everybody ... and that the best team wins.”

The best team? That would Deportivo Quito, right?

“Uh ... I've got [the club] in my heart.”

WORTH NOTING: Chivas has a seventh goalkeeper in camp. Carl Woszczynski, a supplemental draft pick by Chicago out of UAB, is training with the Goats after the Fire decided he wasn't going to make their roster. ... Midfielder Ben Zemanski, sidelined after sustaining a concussion the first week of camp, went through testing Monday in hopes he can return to the field next week. ... A lot of buzz about Brazilian defender David Junior Lopes arriving in camp in tremendous shape. He says he's been working the entire offseason. New Ecuadoran attacker Miller Bolaņos, meantime, is going to need more than a few sessions to get fit. ... Juan Pablo Angel said he expects to sign his contract “very shortly.” Other signings could be coming this week, too. ... Tuesday's preseason game against Colorado is tentatively set for Field 4, where the Goats on Friday played FC Hasental. Chivas will face Chicago at noon Saturday at Oxnard College. ... Team administrator Kevin Esparza has been promoted -- no title yet, but director of player personnel is the job -- and assistant athletic trainer Anthony Garcia will become team administrator.

ELSEWHERE: In other MLS news ...