Roundup: Chivas USA shake up
Club Deportivo Chivas USA had one of their busiest days of the 2005 preseason on Friday, executing a number of personnel moves and taking the field in an exhibition match against UCLA. The club released Antonio de la Torre and Jamil Walker, acquired Costa Rican Douglas Sequeira and convincingly defeated UCLA 5-0.
Both players selected by Chivas USA in the 2005 MLS Expansion Draft, de la Torre and Walker depart prior to the start of the expansion side's inaugural season. A native of Guadalajara, Mexico, de la Torre spent the 2004 season with the Colorado Rapids, while Walker spent the past two seasons with the San Jose Earthquakes, helping the team to an MLS Cup championship in 2003.
A regular in the Rapids' back line, de la Torre made 28 appearances for Colorado last season. He didn't find the net in his first MLS season, though he did contribute five assists to the club's offense. Walker was limited to 10 appearances in 2004, only twice being named to the starting 11. He failed to register a point in his sophomore campaign.
A double transaction involving Chivas USA, fellow MLS expansion side Real Salt Lake and Costa Rican club Deportivo Saprissa resulted in Thomas Rongen's team filling one of those vacated roster spots by acquiring defender Sequeira. Real Salt Lake traded defender Pablo Brenes, also from Costa Rica, to Saprissa in exchange for Sequeira. The Rocky Mountain area team then sent Sequeira to Chivas USA in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft.
A tall central defender or defensive midfielder, Sequeira spent the last two seasons with Saprissa, which is also owned by Chivas USA boss Jorge Vergara. The 27-year-old Sequeira impressed the Chivas USA coaching staff during a two-week trial with the club while they were training in Guadalajara.
Sequeira has experience with top European clubs including Feyenoord of the Netherlands (1997-1999) and Karlsruhe of Germany (1999-2000). He also has represented Costa Rica at nearly international level, from the U-17 national team to the 2000 Olympic team that participated in the Sydney games. He earned his first full cap for Costa Rica in 2004.
Chivas USA were kept busy on the soccer field on Friday as well. They handily defeated the UCLA men's team at the Track Field of The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., depositing two goals before the break and three in the second stanza. Former UCLA striker Matt Taylor was the man of the hour (or 90 minutes) by hitting a double and adding an assist. Isaac Romo, Alonso Sandoval and Armando Begines added one tally apiece.
K.C. finishes Florida preseason: The Wizards, who completed their Florida exhibition schedule by taking down the University of Central Florida 3-0 in Orlando. The 2004 Western Conference champions were in front after only five minutes of action, after an own goal by UCF. Preki doubled the advantage 15 minutes later with a shot from outside the box that flew into the upper right corner of the net. Jack Jewsbury, who was making his first appearance since undergoing a shoulder operation in the offseason, capped the night with a 30th minute goal.
Also making his first appearance for Kansas City on Friday was Sasha Victorine, who was acquired from the Los Angeles Galaxy in a draft-day trade. He had been sidelined with an ankle injury but took the field for the first half in the Wizards' Florida finale. Kansas City will train in the Sunshine State for the remainder of the weekend before heading back to the Midwest on Tuesday.
Light my Fire: The Chicago Fire hosted their annual Winter FireFest Saturday at the Holiday Inn Select & Convention Center Hotel in Tinley Park, Ill. At the event, the Fire announced a new partnership with Prairie State College that will help expand educational opportunities to Prairie students and raise awareness of the Fire and soccer in the Southland area. Prairie students will be able to work with the Fire through internships, community service work and volunteering. There will also be opportunities for part-time and full-time employment. The FireFest included a health fair, interactive games, food, music, a raffle featuring Fire prizes and an autograph session with several Fire players.
In other news ...: On Saturday, D.C. United will face the Los Angeles Galaxy in the Aloha Cup in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Colorado Rapids will be in action Sunday when they face the Haitian national team in Miami, Fla.
Jonathan Nierman is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.