Los Angeles Soccer: Nicolas Dieuze

CHIVAS USA: Minda bolsters deep midfield

December, 22, 2011
Chivas USA has made its first signing from abroad for the new year, and more are likely, although not necessarily one that has been anticipated.

The Goats this week announced they had signed Ecuadoran midfielder Oswaldo Minda, who hadn't exactly been keeping the transaction secret, blabbing weeks ago to the local media that he'd been offered a three-year contract and bidding an emotional farewell to his Deportivo Quito teammates after they won the domestic championship last weekend.

He's a holding midfielder who can do a lot more, says Chivas coach Robin Fraser.

“It's a great signing for our team,” Fraser said Thursday. “He's a player who has been exceptional for his club over the last several years and had some success. He's a player who's a ballwinner, he's an organizer, he's intense. He's a good two-way performer, good going forward as well.”

Minda, 28, who has spent the past four years at Deportivo, adds more depth to a deepening midfield that already had, at least in name, eight potential starters: Nick LaBrocca, Marcos Mondaini, Laurent Courtois, Blair Gavin, Michael Lahoud, Jorge Villafaņa and Ben Zemanski. Oh, and perhaps Ryan Smith, whose rights were acquired from Sporting Kansas City last month.

Another potential midfielder, 32-year-old Frenchman Nicolas Dieuze, isn't so certain. His agent this week told French website MLS-News that a deal would be completed soon. Not so, Fraser says.

“We're still considering him,” said the coach, who saw Dieuze on trial in October. “We're not really any further than that at the moment, as we look at several other players. He's one of them being considered.”

It's uncertain if Arturo Alvarez, selected from Real Salt Lake in last week's second-stage re-entry draft, will join the Goats -- he's pursuing options in Europe -- but Fraser believes Juan Pablo Angel will be back in 2012.

“I haven't had a detailed conversation with him in a couple of weeks,” the coach said, “but last I spoke to him, I think he wants to come back, and we want to have him back.”

Angel scored seven goals in nine games with the Goats after arriving in August from the Galaxy.

CHIVAS USA: Dieuze, Minda on the way?

December, 19, 2011

Chivas USA's roster could soon be bolstered by the additions of two more midfielders, Frenchman Nicolas Dieuze and Ecuadoran Oswaldo Minda.

Both have been in head coach Robin Fraser's sights for some time, and although the club has announced nothing on either of them, their signings are thought to be imminent if not completed.

Dieuze, 32, who has played alongside Chivas assistant coach Greg Vanney and midfielder Laurent Courtois, spent part of October on trial with the Goats, playing 45 minutes in an MLS Reserve League victory over Vancouver.

Chivas has been looking at Dieuze since his contract with second-tier French side Grenoble Foot 38 ended last spring, and his acquisition is expected to be completed soon, his representative told MLS-News, a French website that focuses on America's league.

Dieuze played with Courtois at Toulouse from 1999 to 2001 and was Vanney's teammate at Bastia from 2001 through 2003. He then returned to Toulouse for five years, spent a season with Le Havre and two at Grenoble.

“I think he's an excellent two-way midfielder,” Vanney said in October. “He's an interesting player. We're always looking to gain some experience. ... He was always one of the fitter players -- he's a guy who can cover ground. Extremely fit, hard-nosed, yet has technique. He's a leader, was a captain at Toulouse for a while and helped them into the [UEFA] Champions League.”

Minda earlier this month told Guayaquil daily El Universo he'd been offered a three-year contract by the Goats, and he says he's coming to Los Angeles. Saturday's title-series finale in Ecuador's Serie A was his final game for Deportivo Quito, where he's played since 2008.

“Dear God, this is so amazing,” Minda told reporters after Deportivo Quito toppled Emelec to claim its third national title in four years. “This club has given me so much. ... It's a shame I have to leave this institution that has given me everything and now gives me these tears. That has helped me and given me so much love.

“I came [to Quito] fulfilling a dream, and I'm reaching another.”

Fraser, who wasn't available for comment Monday, said earlier this month that Minda was “a talented, intense, focused player that we've identified that we have interest in.”

ELSEWHERE: In other MLS news ...

Columbus signed central defender Chad Marshall (Riverside/Rubidoux HS) to a contract extension that will keep him with the Crew through 2015. No terms were announced, but Marshall, 27, a two-time MLS Defender of the Year, made $250,000 last season.

Montreal signed Canadian international Patrice Bernier, 32, a Quebec native who played for the Impact in the second tier a decade ago. The defensive midfielder has been in Europe since 2003 and has been with Danish club Lyngby since August.

Philadelphia midfielder Amobi Okugo spent a week training with Freiburg and told soccer blog The USA 10 Kit that the German club told him they'd be in contact with his agents. Okugo, 20, left UCLA following his freshman season to sign a Generation adidas deal and was the No. 6 pick in the 2010 draft.

UC Santa Barbara junior Sam Garza has accepted a Generation adidas contract offer, the Soccer By Ives blog reports. UCLA's Kelyn Rowe and Chandler Hoffman also are considering GA deals, and Rowe, SBI says, has European options.

CHIVAS USA: Goats' finish with aplomb

October, 23, 2011
Chivas USA officially wrapped up its season Sunday morning, and it was one of the high points of the campaign.

The Goats, with a mixture of regulars, second-choice players, Academy kids, guests and an assistant coach with a rocket leg, rallied from a three-goal deficit for a 3-3 MLS Reserve League draw with the Seattle Sounders.

Assistant coach Greg Vanney, a former U.S. national-teamer, netted the equalizer with a free kick from outside the box in the 88th minute.

Victor Estupiņan and Academy player Ben Spencer also tallied for the Goats (3-3-4), who finish third in the West Division of Major League Soccer's second competition. Seattle (8-1-1) won the divisonal title.

Seattle was ahead by two goals by the fourth minute -- Pat Noonan scoring in the second minute, Lamar Neagle following two minutes later -- and made it 3-0, courtesy of Noonan, 10 minutes later.

French trialist Nicolas Dieuze played the full 90 for Chivas, and veteran defender Nelson Akwari, who played this season for the L.A. Blues in the third-tier USL Pro league, was a halftime substitute for the Goats.

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Frenchman gets look with Chivas reserves

October, 18, 2011
CARSON -- Next season has begun for Chivas USA, which already is in assessment mode -- with Robin Fraser and his staff determining who will return in 2012, who won't, and who might be worth bringing in.

There's still one game left on the schedule, Saturday night against Seattle at Home Depot Center, but it means nothing in the grand scheme, not much more than Tuesday's MLS Reserve League clash with Vancouver, a 1-0 triumph claimed on Victor Estupiņan's goal near the end of the first half.

Most newsworthy was a second-half appearance by French midfielder Nicolas Dieuze, a 32-year-old midfielder who has played alongside assistant coach Greg Vanney and midfielder Laurent Courtois.

Dieuze, out of contract since his pact with Grenoble Foot 38 expired last spring, came on at halftime for Mariano Trujillo and fared well in his first real action for the Goats.

“Where we are, we're open to everything, and we're looking at everyone,” Fraser said. “We're going to look at everything we can see, everything we think might be worthwhile. With Nicolas, the opportunity to look at him came up, and we figured we'd take it.”

Dieuze played with Courtois at Toulouse from 1999 to 2001, then was Vanney's teammate at Bastia from 2001 through 2003. He then returned to Toulouse for five years, spent a season with Le Havre and two at Grenoble.

“I think he's an excellent two-way midfielder,” Vanney said. “He's an interesting player. We're always looking to gain some experience and look at players who can maybe help our team in the future.”

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