Moreno could miss significant time for Chivas USA
CARSON, Calif. — Alejandro Moreno has been one of the catalysts of the revived Chivas USA, bringing leadership and poise to the rebuilding team.
Now, after helping lead Chivas USA to victories over the likes of the New York Red Bulls, the veteran forward will be tasked of conquering the mighty Brazil with his native Venezuela in the 2011 Copa América in July. However, participation in the tournament may cause Moreno to miss some significant time for Chivas.
The tournament starts on July 1, and — depending on Venezuela’s performance — Moreno will miss at least three and as many as 10 MLS matches. The final is scheduled for July 24.
The forward is likely to leave for South America next week, but he will return in mid-June when Venezuela face off against Mexico’s Copa América squad in Las Vegas on June 11. In the interest of keeping their captain on the field, negotiations are in place for Moreno to return to Chivas USA on that date when the Goats take on the Houston Dynamo.
“The Venezuelan federation has been very careful because they want him to play during preparations and we want him to play as well as it is a great honor to represent your national team,” Chivas general manager José Domene said. “But at the same time, he wants to play here as well, for at least the Houston match on June 11. He’s going to try to come back with us.”
Since returning from an injury at the beginning of the season that caused him to miss the first match against Sporting KC, Moreno has been a staple for Chivas USA, starting in every match for the Rojiblancos and captaining the side since Jimmy Conrad went down with an injury.
In a conversation with MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday, head coach Robin Fraser reiterated the importance for the Goats to allow Moreno to train with Venezuela during their stint in the United States while also playing in matches for Chivas USA.
Moreno is one of the leaders of a Venezuela squad that has been drawn into the “Group of Death.” They are in Group B with South American powers Ecuador, Paraguay and Brazil. Each of the three nations that Venezuela will face has advanced to the second round in at least one of the last two World Cups.
Venezuela open the tournament on July 3 against defending champions Brazil in La Plata, Argentina. While the odds will be stacked against La Vinotinto, Moreno is confident that his side can make an impression in Argentina.
“It’s a team with a lot of character that works hard and is very committed," he said. "We’re believing what we can do as a group, and although the first stage will be difficult, hopefully we can get some results and try to make a run. I know it’s going to be a challenge, but we’re going to put in the hard work so we can get results that Venezuela can be proud of and that we as a national team can be proud of, too.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @adamserrano