Los Angeles Soccer: Kevin Huezo
Huezo (Segerstrom HS), who has played in Pachuca's system and was in camp with Colorado during preseason, has been released from Chivas' camp, head coach Robin Fraser reported, but seven players remain in the running for roster slots -- with more possibly to come.
“We're still looking, still looking at different players, different positions,” Fraser told ESPN Los Angeles on Tuesday. “Still looking around the world.”
Chivas has 26 players on their roster, with five more additions possible. The Major League Soccer maximum is 30, including players away on loan (such as forward Tristan Bowen, who is in Belgium), but midfielder Marvin Iraheta is on the disabled list because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament, and his spot is open.
The Goats are in pursuit of a South American player, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, and expect to sign him within the next week or so. Another source said the player was from Colombia, the top foreign provider of MLS talent, with 28 players, 14 of them newcomers this season. Chivas striker Juan Pablo Angel is Colombian.
Defenders Matt Dallman, Patrick Kanyuka and Mario Ledesma, midfielders Rodrigo Lopez, Cameron Artigliere and Ernesto Hutchinson, and forward John Owoeri remain in camp on trial. Fraser said he planned to make decisions “within a day or two” on Owoeri, a former Nigerian youth international who scored three goals in Sunday's 6-1 rout of UC Riverside, and Ledesma (Woodland Hills/El Camino Real HS), who has been in camp from the start.
CARSON -- Chivas USA's struggles in front of the net were forgotten -- for the time being, at least -- during Sunday afternoon's reserve friendly against UC Riverside. The Goats scored three times in three minutes and four in eight to pull away in a 7-1 romp.
Cesar Romero and trialist John Owoeri scored hat tricks for the Goats, whose lack of attack has been costly in successive Major League Soccer defeats, both by 1-0 scorelines, to Houston and Vancouver.
Owoeri, a former Nigerian youth international who has demonstrated great energy but subpar finishing skills since joining camp two weeks ago, tallied in the 60th, 62nd and 67th minutes as Chivas turned a two-goal advantage into a 6-0 game. He assisted Romero's finale, in the 85th.
Romero has seven goals since joining Chivas at the end of January. He had four during preseason.
Head coach Robin Fraser used the match to give six trialists -- three of them newcomers -- a look in advance of this week's expected roster decision. Left back Kevin Huezo (Santa Ana/Segerstrom HS) and former Goats midfielder Rodrigo Lopez, who was with the Portland Timbers last year, were most impressive, until Owoeri took charge after narrowly missing three times.
Lopez, 24, who was born in Mexico but grew up in Santa Barbara, played eight games in 2005-07 with Chivas but made no league appearances last year with the Timbers. He just joined camp, along with 24-year-old Congolese defender Patrick Kanyuka and 21-year-old, San Fernando Valley-bred midfielder Cameron Artigliere (Winnetka/El Camino Real HS).
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.