Once A Goat: Former Chivas USA Players Begin Club Seasons

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21: Guzan hopes it is his year for Villa. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

It has been a little while since we last checked in with the former Chivas USA players plying their trade abroad. When we last recounted the exploits of the former Goats, Sacha Kljestan won the Belgian Jupiler League title with Anderlecht last season. Considering he is the highest profile former Chivas player getting regular playing time, we might as well as start with him.

Kljestan's team has begun the season in two main competitions this season, the domestic league and the UEFA Champions League. Earlier this month, Kljestan played an integral part in Anderlecht's advancement into the next round of Champions League qualifiers after a 6-0 win over Ekranas of Lithuania in the second leg of their playoff. Kljestan scored the first goal of the match and set up another, so he may be seeing more playing time. Anderlecht has a new coach and formation, and Kljestan has been coming off the bench mostly so far in the Jupiler League. He went through a similar process after joining the team, however, so one hopes he will find a way to crack the starting eleven again.

In other former Chivas news, Brad Guzan re-signed with English Premier League club Aston Villa in the offseason, and has remained with the team, a completely bogus rumor claiming he was coming back to Chivas notwithstanding. Although many pundits have wondered why Guzan stayed with Villa when he's hardly played for them, there is a school of thought that believes this season could be his breakthrough, as incumbent starting keeper Shay Given is getting old and increasingly injury-prone, and could make way for Guzan soon. Although Guzan hasn't found much playing time, he is only 27, which is practically a baby for goalkeepers, so if this is indeed his year, he still has many productive years ahead of him. Still, Given was the preferred choice on opening day Saturday, but a 1-0 loss to West Ham may mean that Guzan could get a chance yet.

The ballad of Jonathan Bornstein rolls on, and the defender's outlook has not improved. With five rounds of the Liga MX Apertura down, Bornstein has played four minutes this season, coming off the bench at the end of Tigres 4-0 thrashing of Jaguares on the first week of the season. Otherwise, he continues to cool his heels while his team performs around him. I would expect transfer rumors to swirl again for Bornstein when the January transfer window opens.

Elsewhere in Mexico, Mariano Trujillo has joined Jaguares as a player/coach. Although he was hired recently as a coach, he suited up for the first team in a Copa MX match in July, setting up the winner in that match. No word on whether the 35-year old will continue to play for the team, who have had a terrible start to the Liga MX season, but even if he stays on the coaching side, it looks like he's making a transition in his post-playing career.

Fan favorite Francisco Mendoza is currently playing in Mexico as well, with second division side Universidad de Guadalajara. The leones negros have a distinguished history in the Mexican top flight, so if he could help them move towards promotion, that would be a significant accomplishment.

Defender Michael Umana has remained with Comunicaciones in Guatemala for a second season. Although Umana initially spoke highly of the move, he reportedly had difficulty adjusting to the league and country, and claimed his family was being harassed. The situation has evidently improved, however, as Umana has already contributed to the scoring this season for the cremas. Although Comunicaciones is often a fixture in the CONCACAF Champions League, they did not earn a spot for this latest tournament, so we won't be seeing him play in the CCL this year.

Forward Giancarlo Maldonado, a teammate of Alejandro Moreno's on the Venezuelan National Team, has left Atlas in Mexico and returned to Venezuela, where he currently plays for Mineros de Guayana. Although I don't profess to know much about the Venezuelan Primera, the team finished second last season, so perhaps Maldonado has a chance at some silverware in his home country.

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