Los Angeles Soccer: Kessben FC

Chivas about to bolster backline again

February, 22, 2011
By March 19, when it kicks off its Major League Soccer campaign, Chivas USA might have the deepest backline in the league. Another defender is on his way.

The Goats are finalizing a loan agreement to bring in rising Ghanaian left back Seth Owusu, and head coach Robin Fraser expects him in camp sometime this week.

Owusu, who will be 22 next week, has been playing for Kessben FC in Ghana's Glo Premier League. The club's license was purchased in December by Medeama SC, and the defender has since been on trials in France and Poland without attracting a contract offer.

“He's a player we have great interest in,” Fraser said after training Tuesday morning, the Goats' first session since returning from a weeklong camp in Arizona. “He's probably one of the two best outside defenders I've seen while scouting professionally in the last, what, four years?

“He's also a very capable central defender, so I think he adds some athleticism and experience. … I feel like physically he's going to be another strong defender for us.”

Owusu appears on the fringe of Ghana's national team. He was called into the Black Stars' camp before an African Cup of Nations qualifier against Sudan in October but did not play in the match.

The deal would expire in December; no word whether there will be options to extend to loan or purchase the contract. It sounds like Medeama will be holding out for bigger bucks than MLS will spend.

“We are confident this will help the young chap gain experience for a bigger move to Europe,” Medeama president Moses Armah said on his club’s Web site. “This is only the beginning, and we will to wish him well at his new club. He has the experience and knows what is ahead of him, so he can’t disappoint. We expect him to come back better than he’s leaving us.”

Chivas just acquired Heath Pearce, a left-footed outside back (who can play on the right or in midfield, too), a week ago, and it signed center back Andrew Boyens about a week before that. Center back Jimmy Conrad, of course, arrived in December's re-entry draft, and Zarek Valentin, who can play inside or on the right, was the Goats' top pick in last month's draft. Colombian right back Jimmy Asprilla is in camp, and there's a good chance he'll be signed, too. Three backline starters return, although Mariano Trujillo likely will play, when he plays, in midfield.

“At the end of the day, we're trying to bring in as many good players as we can,” Fraser said. “And we're not Chelsea or Real Madrid, where we have the luxury of plucking every single player we want. So when we get good players, we have to bring them in.”

ACROSS THE BACK?: What might Chivas' starting backline look like? Maybe … Asprilla on the right, Conrad and Owusu in the middle, Pearce on the left. Or Owusu on the left with Valentin in the middle with Conrad, and Pearce in midfield. Or Valentin on the right, with Conrad and Michael Umaņa in the middle. Or Conrad and Owusu in the middle and Ante Jazic on the left flank.

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