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Wednesday, March 21, 2012
CHIVAS USA: Angel still has symptoms

By Scott French

Alejandro Moreno
Alejandro Moreno, who has twice broken his nose this month, likely will not pay at Salt Lake this weekend.

CARSON -- Juan Pablo Angel's concussion symptoms are lingering, so the regal striker likely won't be suiting up for Chivas USA come Saturday at Real Salt Lake.

Angel, who took a blow to the head in a preseason match three weeks ago in Portland, is going through Major League Soccer's concussion protocol, which forced him out of last weekend's loss to Vancouver.

He's training, but no headers -- and no decisions yet.

“We're just taking it day by day, and we'll see how it is tomorrow,” Angel said following the Goats' training session Wednesday morning at Home Depot Center. “It's hard to tell, because I still feel a little bit of … you know.”

Angel took a knock from Portland Timbers center back Eric Brunner in a tournament game March 1 at Jeld-Wen Field, and the impact has bothered him since, although he played in another preseason game three days later and Chivas' league opener March 11 against Houston.

The Goats could use the tall Colombian striker, who scored seven goals in nine games for club after arriving from the Galaxy in a trade that cleared a Designated Player slot on L.A.'s roster for Robbie Keane. Chivas has been shut out in back-to-back games to start the season, and chances were limited in both of them.

Head coach Robin Fraser was asked about Angel's chances to play this week. The forward is listed as questionable on the disabled list, but he must complete protocol, which takes a week minimum and includes a battery of tests.

“To be honest, I don't know,” he said. “As you know, there's a protocol to be followed, and we just have to follow up and see how he is.”

Told that Angel says he still has symptoms, Fraser said: “That's probably not the best sign, is it?”

Angel said not being able to contribute was “extremely difficult; I think that's the hardest part,” but he doesn't feel quite right when he tries to head the ball when his neck muscles are not tensed. He's not heading the ball in training.

“When it's a mild concussion, there's a gray area in there that you really don't  know what went wrong,” said Angel, who reported he has not spoken to Jimmy Conrad, who retired last year for concussion-related reasons.

“You always think all those things will never happen to you,” Angel said. “I'm just in the [post-concussion] process. The symptoms haven't gotten worse, and we'll take it one day at a time. … We're trying to be smart and make the right decision.”

OTHERS OUT: The Goats also have been without forward-turned-midfielder Alejandro Moreno, who likely will miss a third game because of a broken nose, and winger Michael Lahoud and midfielder Blair Gavin, sidelined because of hamstring injuries. French winger Laurent Courtois, who started the first two matches, has joined them on the disabled list, questionable because of a calf strain.

Oft-injured Gavin, who is probable for the RSL game, came off the bench in Sunday's scrimmage against UC Riverside, his first game appearance since Feb. 16. He had missed five preseason matches, both MLS games and a reserve scrimmage a week earlier against the L.A. Blues.

Lahoud is expected to be out another couple of weeks.

Moreno said his nose, which twice required surgery after it was broken in Portland and re-broken against the Blues, was healing and that the doctor said everything was “on schedule. The disappointing part is the schedule was 10 to 12 days, and it's only been seven days.”

So Saturday's game in Sandy, Utah, “probably is unlikely, probably isn't realistic. I would love to be out there, but it's a situation where it's not quite where it needs to be and the risk is exponentially greater as opposed to the rewards.” Officially, he's questionable.

The cast has been removed from Moreno's nose, and that's a big step forward. He'll wear a mask for four to six weeks when he does return to the field.

“It's nice to be able to take a shower and be able to actually wash my face properly,” the Venezuelan national-teamer said. “I know it sounds foolish, but things like drying off your face are troublesome -- it's not fun. You try to wash your face, and it's a project.”