Los Angeles Soccer: Akira Fitzgerald

Relative success in Chivas USA loss

February, 12, 2011
Chivas USA had three new faces on the field for its scrimmage Saturday against the Seattle Sounders, and perhaps the most promising is an asset from Robin Fraser's appointment as head coach.

And we're not expecting him to make Chivas' roster.

Eriq Zavaleta, a U.S. under-20 national-teamer and high school senior from Westfield, Ind., was on Goats' backline for the final 30 minutes of the 1-0 defeat in Casa Grande, Ariz.

Zavaleta, who will be a freshman at Indiana next fall, moved last month from Real Salt Lake's academy in Arizona to Chivas USA's academy. His uncle is former Galaxy defender Greg Vanney, who had been director of RSL's Arizona outfit before coming in as Fraser's second-in-command just after New Year's.

He's certainly a prospect. He's got size (6-foot-1), experience (two years at U-17 residency in Florida, starting job for the U.S. at the 2009 U-17 World Cup in Nigeria) and accolades (NSCAA, ESPN Rise and Parade All-America, considered the class of '11's top defender).

And no matter how good he looks, no matter what he does, during Chivas' weeklong stay in Arizona, there's no chance, near as we can tell, that he'll be on the roster come April 19's Major League Soccer opener against Sporting Kansas City.

As we understand it, he does not qualify as a “Home Grown Player” -- clubs may sign players who have been in their academy systems for at least a year -- and would be dispersed into the league by lottery were he to sign a Generation adidas contract.

And it was only Monday that Indiana announced its recruiting class, with Zavareta.

OTHER TRIALISTS: Midfielder Guillermo “Memo” Torres, younger brother to U.S. national team midfielder Jose Francisco Torres, and Colombian defender Jimmy Asprilla also played the final 30 minutes for the Goats.

Asprilla, 30, who was at right back, has spent his career in South America and mostly at home, with three stints for Once Caldas, two more with Deportivo Cali and most recently with Millonarios. Torres most recently was with Pachuca in Mexico, his brother's club.

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