Thursday, May 19, 2011
CHIVAS USA: Goats gauge Moreno's Copa commitment
By Scott French
Forward Alejandro Moreno could miss as many as 11 games while away with Venezuela's national team, and Chivas USA is working with the South American nation's federation to minimize the impact of the Vinotinto's schedule on its Major League Soccer campaign.
Moreno, who has served as Chivas' captain since defender Jimmy Conrad suffered a concussion in late March, is likelier to miss a half-dozen games, and perhaps seven or eight, while in preparations for and competing in Copa America, the July 1-24 South American nations championship in Argentina.
The veteran forward, acquired during the offseason, is slated to leave next week for friendlies June 1 against Guatemala and June 5 against Spain. Venezuela also faces Mexico's U-23 team in Las Vegas on June 11, but Moreno said negotiations are ongoing so he can return to Chivas, which plays at Houston on that date.
"We're in the middle of trying to figure that out," Moreno said Wednesday when asked how his Venezuelan commitments would affect his time with the Goats. "We've got FIFA [official fixture] dates for the game against Guatemala and the game against Spain, and I'm going to be apart with the national team with those games, and then, obviously, we have to prepare for Copa America. ... In the preparation, I'm required to be there ahead of time, and we're trying to minimize the number of games I miss here, and hopefully we can work something out."
Moreno is certain to miss games May 28 at Columbus, June 1 against Vancouver and June 4 against Portland, the latter two at Home Depot Center. He's likely to play for the Goats on June 18 against FC Dallas, but no word yet on the games against Houston and a June 25 date at Philadelphia.
"We'll see him a couple times during the stretch before Copa America starts," head coach Robin Fraser said.
Moreno will miss at least three games during Copa America -- July 2 against Chicago and July 6 against San Jose, both at HDC, and July 9 at Sporting Kansas City -- and as many as three more, depending on how far the Vinotinto advance in Argentina. It would be a surprise for Venezuela to reach the semifinals.
"[Moreno] has been very helpful, and the Venezuelan federation has been helpful," general manager Jose Domene said. "We're going to try to get him as many games as possible without jeopardizing his [participation at Copa America], because at the end of the day, it's an honor to play for your national team.
"We're not going to force anything. It's going to be a decision between the player, the federation and the team. ... And he wants to play as many games for us as he can."