Los Angeles Soccer: Aguila
CARSON -- Michael Umaņa has been gone all of a few weeks, so his homecoming, as it were, doesn't really register.
Don't tell that to the former Chivas USA defender, who was dumped in a money move this offseason and found new employment in Guatemala. Now he's back for one last kick at Home Depot Center, and he's really looking forward to it.
“I feel very happy to come to my field, where I played for two years,” the Costa Rican center back said on the eve of Saturday's Doble Clasico Centroamericano, a friendly doubleheader matching Guatemalan and Salvadoran archrivals. “Visiting L.A. is always special for me. I've had a lot of happiness and sadness in my soccer career -- more happiness -- and I'm very happy to come back to L.A.”
Umaņa, who leads Comunicaciones against Guatemala City rival Municipal in the 6 p.m. opener, didn't want to leave, but as Chivas coach Robin Fraser continues in his rebuild, the center back's $138,000 base salary, his figure last year, priced him beyond the budget.
“I was very happy [at Chivas],” said Umaņa, who started 49 games in two seasons with the Goats. “It was very difficult to leave. It was a technical decision, by management, so you can't do much about it.”
Umaņa, 29, hooked on with Comunicaciones, which has won 24 Guatemalan championships, second only to Municipal's 29. (One or the other has won the past five titles.) Their rivalry is sort of like Galaxy-Chivas -- Umaņa knows both sides; he was with L.A. when it won the 2005 MLS Cup crown -- except this one's really heated.