Los Angeles Soccer: Alan Souza

CHIVAS USA: Angel out with head issue?

March, 15, 2012
CARSON -- Juan Pablo Angel might not be available for Chivas USA's game Saturday while he deals with a potential concussion issue.

The Colombian striker, the Goats' biggest name, spent training away from the field Thursday with what head coach Robin Fraser termed “just a little but of precautionary measures with concussion protocol.”

Angel, 36, said he has had problems since hitting heads with Portland Timbers defender Eric Brunner during a preseason game two weeks ago in Oregon. He has started both Chivas games since, the preseason finale March 4 against San Jose and last weekend's Major League Soccer opener against Houston.

“It's been bothering me since [the collision] when I head the ball, when I don't [tense] the muscles [in my neck to prepare to head the ball],” Angel said Thursday. “I had a word with the doctor. [Because of the protocol], he said let's take a couple of days and see. I'll take it easy until tomorrow, and then we'll address it from there.”

MLS's concussion protocol, instituted after several players -- including 101-goal scorer Taylor Twellman and former Chivas/Galaxy forward Alecko Eskandarian -- saw their careers shortened by concussions, mandates that a player see a doctor, be symptom-free for a week, then pass cognitive tests. (Chivas defender Jimmy Conrad retired for similar reasons after going through the protocol last season.)

Angel, who said he was “feeling better” on Thursday, has not been diagnosed with a concussion, but he acknowledges he has had symptoms similar to those related to concussions.

If Angel can't play Saturday night against Vancouver at Home Depot Center, rookie Casey Townsend or newcomer Cesar Romero likely will get the call up front. Townsend is a target striker, like Angel; Romero is more versatile and was playing with Chivas' first team in a short training scrimmage Thursday.

OUT BY A NOSE: Alejandro Moreno will miss the game against Vancouver because of a broken nose suffered at the Portland tournament. He had surgery last week, was available but did not play in Sunday's loss to Houston, then broke it again while playing 90 minutes in a reserve-team friendly Monday against the L.A. Blues. He had a second surgery later that day.

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CHIVAS USA: Romero's 4th not enough

March, 1, 2012
The most exciting newcomer for Chivas USA this year? It might be Cesar Romero, the forward from San Diego who has spent his career with little clubs -- one of them indoors -- but has taken his chance with the Goats to heart.

Romero, 22, netted his fourth goal of the preseason Thursday night, and if it wasn't enough to beat the Portland Timbers, it should have been. Lax defending on a corner kick enabled the home side to pull out a 1-1 draw in the second of three doubleheaders in a four-team tournament, a match that drew 15,195 at Jeld-Wen Field.

Romero provided a 21st-minute advantage for Chivas, nodding trialist Alan Souza's cross from the right powerfully between the slight space separating Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson and the right post.

Romero has been a handful for opposing defenses in nearly every one of his nine preseason-match appearances, and he was rewarded eight days ago with a contract. He's a nice foil for Juan Pablo Angel or rookie Casey Townsend, especially when Chivas uses a 4-4-2 alignment, as they did Thursday, rather than the 4-2-3-1 head coach Robin Fraser has employed during most of the buildup toward its March 11 Major League Soccer opener.

“[The goal] was certainly a result of hard work and desire,” Fraser said afterward. “It was the result of good, aggressive team play.”

With better fortune, the Goats could have added to their lead. A sharp cross caromed off Townsend's head to challenge Gleeson shortly after Romero struck, and Rauwshan McKenzie beat Gleeson to a header following a corner kick that Chris Taylor cleared off the goal line.

Portland got its goal in the 78th minute. Chivas' backline was caught flat-footed on a corner kick into the goalmouth, and rookie Ryan Kawulok, who signed his contract earlier in the day, beat trialist Scott Gordon to push it past Goats keeper Tim Melia, who was sharp all night.

“At the end of the day, the guys are getting into 90-minute fitness,” Fraser explained. “Set pieces in Portland are always going to be a big part of the story. They have a lot of big guys, and at home they thrive on them.”

Portland possesses one of the most rabid fan bases in MLS, and although the crowd was a little smaller than the group that saw the Timbers tie San Jose on Monday night, it provided a glimpse of regular-season atmosphere for, especially, Romero and Townsend.

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CHIVAS USA: Tough choices vs. LMU

February, 24, 2012
CARSON -- Robin Fraser has roster decisions to make in the next week, and they're not getting easier. The performance of three trialists in Chivas USA's preseason game Friday afternoon certainly gives the Goats' coach and his staff something to think about.

Colombian attacking midfielder Jose Manuel Najera and Brazilian winger Alan Souza were as impressive as hoped for in their first game action for Chivas in a 4-0 romp over Loyola Marymount University on a training field outside Home Depot Center's main stadium. Matt Dallman's showing at left back was just as good -- and far more unexpected.

Dallman, who is from Portland, Ore., started training with Chivas about two weeks ago -- not on trial, just to get fit. He has spent the past 4 years in Europe, and he came to Carson after childhood friend Heath Pearce vouched for him.

“He talked to the coaches, asked if I could train with them for a little bit, and they've been great,” said Dallman, who played with Pearce in club ball, at the University of Portland, and in six months at Danish club Nordsjaelland before spending four years in Germany, with Arminia Bielefeld and Sportsfreunde Ziegen.

Dallman, 26, teamed with Souza on the left flank Friday to terrorize LMU's defense, setting up the second of two goals by rookie Casey Townsend with a fine run to the end line. He was solid defensively and looked very much at home in a 90-minute outing.

“We had the opportunity to look at him, and he's come in, and I think he did well today,” Fraser said.

His chances of making this roster? No telling.

“I haven't really heard much [about prospects],” Dallman said. “It was more of they said I could come in and train. I don't think it was a very official trial. It was just me kind of getting fit again. I just moved back from Europe about a month ago, so I'm tring to find a club here between [MLS and second-division North American Soccer League], just kind of decide what I want to do.

“I didn't come in with expectations. It was just great that they let me train.”

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