Wednesday Nuggets: Guzan Gone to Villa & More

Chivas Chatter

Chivas USA goalkeeper Brad Guzan left the U.S. training camp in Carson to sign with EPL team Aston Villa.

Guzan and Everton’s Tim Howard are likely to share U.S. goalkeeping duties for years to come.

It’s been a pleasure watching Guzan mature between the posts at Home Depot Center and the move is well-deserved. Still, local soccer reporters never like to see someone like the always quotable Guzan exit the locker room. And considering the state of the Chivas USA roster – no goalkeepers listed you’ll notice – new Chivas USA goalkeeping coach Leo Percovich is probably wondering about his job security.

Here’s more on Percovich’s appointment Tuesday from the (edited) Chivas USA press release:

A native of Montevideo, Uruguay, Percovich served as goalkeeper coach for the Colorado Rapids from 2006 to 2007. He replaces Zak Abdel, Chivas USAs goalkeeper coach from 2006 to 2007, who has left the club to pursue other opportunities.

Leos professionalism and playing experience at the highest level will serve our goalkeepers and our team well as we prepare for the 2008 campaign, said Chivas USA Head Coach Preki. I am confident he will capably fill the shoes of Zak Abdel, who did outstanding work for us during his time with Chivas USA.

Percovich, 39, joins Chivas USA from the Colorado Rapids, where starting in August 2006 he worked with 2006 Panasonic Goalkeeper of the Year finalist Joe Cannon, and later with Bouna Coundoul, who enjoyed a breakout 2007 season and was named to the Senegalese National Teams roster for the current 2008 African Nations Cup. Percovich has also apprenticed under goalkeeper coaches throughout Europe and Latin America, including stints with club sides Real Madrid, Valencia, Stuttgart, Cruziero and Pachuca, as well as the national teams of Brazil, France, and Uruguay. Following the 2006 season, Percovich was also named assistant coach to Rapids head coach Fernando Clavijo.

As a player, Percovich made six appearances with the Uruguayan National Team during a professional goalkeeping career that included time with South American powerhouses Nacional de Montevideo (1987-1993), Atltico Mineiro (1994), Guaran FC (1995), and Fluminense FC (1995-1999) and Alianza de Lima (2000), as well as Spanish side Racing de Ferrol (2001). While with Nacional, Percovich won the Uruguayan First Division twice, as a starter in 1991 and 1992, as well as the prestigious Copa Libertadores in 1989.

In other Chivas USA news, the team will participate in a preaseason tournament in Texas in early March, playing D.C. United, the Houston Dynamo and Toronto FC. Details here.

And three Chivas USA players have signed new contracts, according to the team:

Chivas USA players Jorge Flores, Bobby Burling, and Anthony Hamilton recently signed developmental contracts in anticipation of the 2008 season. Flores, a forward, won the first Sueo MLS competition which was held last spring, and made his first team debut for Chivas USA on Sept. 9 against the New York Red Bulls. Forward Anthony Hamilton made two regular season appearances last year before coming on a substitute in Chivas USAs 0-0 tie against the Kansas City Wizards during the 2007 MLS Cup Playoffs. Meanwhile, Burling, a defender, showed tremendous potential while playing for the Chivas USA Reserve team in 2007.

The Ramon Nunez experiment has apparently ended though and he’s returned to his native Honduras.

Galaxy Gossip

Over at the Galaxy, David Beckham opened his third academy in Brazil
this week and is anxiously awaiting word on whether he’ll be named to the England squad Thursday in hopes of winning his 100th cap.

The Galaxy have belatedly got around to officially announcing their two-game tour of Asia and extended the deadline until Sunday for their open tryouts.

Incidentally, recently reacquired striker Carlos Ruiz won’t be joining the Guatemalan national team for their Feb. 6 game at the Coliseum against Argentina the Galaxy announced Wednesday:

Recently acquired LA Galaxy forward Carlos Ruiz will remain in Los Angeles to prepare for the clubs preseason training and to continue to rehabilitate his right knee which underwent successful arthroscopic surgery in November to clean up his lateral meniscus. Therefore Ruiz, who was acquired by the Galaxy on January 15, was not part of Guatemalan National Team head coach Hernn Daro Gmezs 35-man roster which reported for training camp on Monday in Guatemala.

Carlos is coming off a period of inactivity that included arthroscopic knee surgery. To jump right back into international competition would be irresponsible and counter-productive, said Galaxy President and General Manager Alexi Lalas. We want Carlos to progress through a proper preseason so that he is ready for the start of the MLS season and World Cup qualifying with Guatemala later in the year.

Ruiz initially began to feel discomfort in his right knee in September while with his former team, FC Dallas, following a U.S. Open Cup Semifinal win in Seattle. An MRI after that game revealed loose fragments in his knee, but no extensive damage. The 28-year old missed one game as a result of the injury but did not miss any more time for the rest of the regular season and postseason as a result of it.

We had a chance to examine Carlos on Friday and upon our examination, we did not feel that his knee has progressed to the stage of being ready for the rigors of international competition quite yet, said Galaxy club doctor Dr. Bert Mandelbaum. We now have a plan of systematic progression in place for Carlos and with this we expect him to be ready for the upcoming season.

Didn’t take long for the Galaxy to start accumulating injuries, did it?

Nats News

U.S. Soccer has unveiled its new men’s national team jersey.

Initial reviews are, to put it kindly, mixed.

Finally, tickets go on sale at noon today for the Olympic qualifying games in March:

The eight-team event, which includes national teams at the Under-23 age level, will be played as eight doubleheaders from March 11-23, 2008, and will send two finalists to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Group A, which includes the United States, Honduras, Cuba and Panama, will play at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. on March 11, 13 and 15. Group B features Canada, Guatemala, Haiti and Mexico facing off on March 12, 14 and 16 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. LP Field in Nashville will host the semifinals on Thursday, March 20, and the championship match and third-place game on Sunday, March 23. Tickets priced from $18 to $65 for each of the eight doubleheaders in the tournament go on sale beginning Wednesday (January 30) at 12 p.m. local time in each venue through, by phone at 813-287-8844 (Tampa), 213-480-3232 (Los Angeles) or 615-255-9600 (Nashville) and at local Ticketmaster ticket centers in the venue cities.

Preps Press

Is here from the Daily Breeze and here and
here from the Daily News.

The Long Beach Press-Telegram checks in with prep coverage here.

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