Time for the weekly news roundup! Let's jump right in. First, we get a report from Scott French over at ESPN.com about the scrimmage last Friday between Chivas USA and the local USL team, the LA Blues. Chivas won the match 3-1, with goals coming from Ben Zemanski, Juan Pablo Angel and Justin Braun. As French notes, the scrimmage ends Chivas' training in 2011 and they will be back at it in organized training after the new year.
And club General Manager Jose Domene is on something of a publicity campaign this week, with separate interviews with Gabe Dahl on the club's website and Adam Serrano on the MLS website. I'll let you read over them for yourselves, and while there's no real breaking news in these articles, I think he's expressing the strategies that have become apparent over the past several months. In particular, he reiterated a commitment to the youth academy in the article by Dahl, something that looks to be a key strategy moving forward for player development. Also, he was coy with the stadium situation, telling Serrano that "we're still looking" for a site. Again, based on the lack of news on the situation and Domene's firm denials, this isn't exactly a surprise either. Still, it's good to hear Domene speak publicly on Chivas.Serrano has his regular supply of articles in the past week. From today, here's his weekly column on the league website, where he talks to Heath Pearce briefly about improving next season and to Robin Fraser about player acquisition in the offseason. With Domene tweeting recently about traveling to multiple countries to scout players, Fraser confirmed he was in South America to see players. He confirmed that he was in Peru and Ecuador, which are less-represented countries in MLS compared to Colombia or Argentina, so perhaps they are trying to find players before the rest of the league's clubs stampede to countries anew? We'll have to see what happens.
Serrano also has a profile on Marcos Mondaini from last week on the league website. Mondaini had perhaps the most tumultuous season of any player on the team, and I still can't tell if he'll be back or not next year. I think he is talented, but maybe he needs a shift in position on the field to unlock his full potential?
Here's the weekly update on the Chivas Academy matches on the club's website, as well as the schedule for this weekend.
On the international front, several Goats were involved in recent competitive matches and friendlies. First, Venezuela had two CONMEBOL 2014 World Cup Qualifiers. In the first game, Venezuela drew 1-1 away against Colombia, a good result considering their history of futility. Chivas forward Alejandro Moreno started the match and played 70 minutes, but the player who came on for him, Frank Feltscher (Grasshopper), scored the equalizer to secure the point. Their second match was today at home, and the Vinotinto defeated Bolivia 1-0 for an important three points. Moreno, however, did not feature in this match, but that's not a surprise considering coach Cesar Farias has consistently rotated his forwards from game to game. Venezuela is off to a good start, and hopefully they can keep pace to stay in what is perhaps the most competitive confederation in the world.
Meanwhile, Canada also got four points in the last two World Cup Qualifiers. They had a home-and-away series with St. Kitts to secure a place in the next phase of CONCACAF qualifying. On Friday, they drew 0-0 in St. Kitts, a result that ensured passage to the next round for Canada but left many Canadian fans disappointed by the performance. Chivas defender Ante Jazic played a full 90 minutes in this match, and on his end, the shutout is certainly good news. Today, Canada beat St. Kitts 4-0 in Toronto to finish the current phase on a high note. Jazic did not play, but he will most likely be called on moving forward.
Costa Rica did not have to qualify for the CONCACAF qualification stage starting next year, and so they played two friendlies this international window. First, they played their neighbors Panama Friday in Panama, where they lost 2-0. Chivas defender Michael Umana featured for the Ticos in that match, as well as today's friendly against Spain in San Jose, which ended in a 2-2 draw. Costa Rica had a 2-0 lead until the last 10 minutes of the match, when goals by David Silva and David Villa brought Spain back into the match.
Also, Chivas defender Zarek Valentin wrapped up the USMNT U-23 camp in Germany. He saw time in the scrimmages against youth club squads, and hopefully he turned enough heads to get a call up for the Olympic Qualifying tournament in March. You can read about the U-23 camp goings on here on the U.S. Soccer website's youth national team section.