Los Angeles Soccer: Quilmes
Miguel Lopez's loan assignment with the Galaxy has ended, and has the Argentine midfielder/forward has returned to Quilmes, the suburban Buenos Aires club has confirmed.
Paolo Cardozo's situation isn't so clear.
Lopez began training last week with Quilmes, which is preparing for next month's start to the Clausura campaign in the second-tier Nacional B Division. The Galaxy, which signed Lopez on loan last January, has not announced any move involving the player, who told an Argentine newspaper that his time in L.A. was most beneficial.
“The experience was very positive,” Lopez said, according to reports in Diario Perspectiva Sur. “The city, the people, the club, everything was very good -- both on and off the field. And the experience helped me grow as a player, taught me another kind of football that can help me contribute here. Because it is a very physical football [in MLS], and that helped me a lot.”
Cardozo, whom the Galaxy selected in the first round of last year's MLS SuperDraft, also was set to return to Quilmes, according to Diario El Sol, which quoted head coach Ricardo Caruso Lombardi as saying he needed “to see the two players. If I like them both, then they'll be welcomed here.”
Lopez was on the roster for Quilmes' camp this week in Mar del Plata, but Cardozo is not on the list.
Lopez, 23, started 14 and played in 24 league games for the Galaxy last season, scoring a goal and adding three assists. He played in 32 first-team games in all.
Cardozo, who impressed last season with extraordinary skill on the ball -- he was the Galaxy's most technical player -- started eight and played in 18 league matches and featured in 27 first-team games. He also played in all nine MLS Reserve League matches, scoring two goals.
UPDATE (3:30 p.m.): Galaxy coach/GM Bruce Arena confirmed Tuesday that Lopez has returned to Quilmes but that he anticipates Cardozo, who is on loan from Quilmes, will return to the Galaxy this season.
He also said New Zealander defender Andrew Boyens, selected from Chivas in the re-entry draft, has been signed and that the club is looking to extend the loan agreement with Sao Paulo for central defender Leonardo.
NO CONWAY: Goalkeeper Jon Conway, whom the Galaxy selected in last month's second-stage re-entry draft, announced his retirement Tuesday after 12 seasons in MLS.
He's still finding his footing, after his first prolonged rest in more than 2½ years, but as L.A. eases into its preseason schedule -- and with the March 15 Major League Soccer opener in Seattle still six weeks away -- the Galaxy captain sees big things on the horizon.
"I said yesterday to someone that this team is going to be more competitive than last year's, we're going to be deeper than last year, and overall in every position we have more talent and depth ...," Donovan said Tuesday after the club's second preseason training session at Home Depot Center. "[We have] the best balance that I've ever seen, certainly on this team and maybe in any team I've seen in MLS, from [player No.] 1 to 25.
The Galaxy transitioned this week from a week of gym and fitness labor to on-field work, and all but two players -- David Beckham, training in London with Tottenham, and 16-year-old Jack McBean, with the U.S. under-17 team -- have arrived. Good thing: There are 11 newcomers among the 28 players on the roster, and there's much to do to build the chemistry necessary to live up to the kind of expectations Donovan's talk fuels.
How is it going so far?
"Good," head coach/GM Bruce Arena said. "Day two, you know. The usual in preseason. But it's nice to get the team back on the field and integrate the new players into the team. Obviously, it's a long process -- we're six weeks way from an opening game. We have a lot of time. There are going to be some ups and downs along the way. We know that. But we have a good mentality in the group, and we just want to work harder every day and get our team better and hopefully be able to put a good team on the field out there on March 15."
The biggest name among the newcomers is Colombian forward Juan Pablo Angel, who says he relishes the responsibility to score goals -- he netted 61 in four seasons with the New York Red Bulls -- but will need time to adjust to a new team and new teammates.
"Little by little, it will happen," he said. "I mean, I've only been here two days, so we have the rest of February and the beginning of March to start building partnerships. Right now, the focus in on trying to be fit, get used to the ball again. Plenty of time to do the rest."