Juan Pablo García made his Los Angeles debut today as a Chivas USA player, as the 23-year-old forward earned his first cap with the Mexican National Team in front of 30,710 fans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Group C play of the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
García, Chivas USA's newest acquisition, was the second substitute made by Head Coach Ricardo Lavolpe, coming in as a 67th-minute substitution for Chivas Guadalajara forward Alberto Medina, as Mexico defeated Guatemala 4-0 in front of a pro-Mexican crowd that applauded the entry of the Red-and-White's newest attacker.
"I felt good, satisfied with my performance. I tried to do what I do best, and what I most enjoy, which taking defenders on. I played a little more than 20 minutes, but those are 20 important minutes for me, because this marks the beginning of my career with the full national team," said García.
The native of Guadalajara, Jalisco had played previously for 'El Tri' at all of its youth levels, representing the Mexican U-23 team at the Pan-American Games in 2003 in the Dominican Republic and playing in all of Mexico's games at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, as well as the Olympic qualifying tournament in Guadalajara in February 2004.
García will join Chivas USA following Mexico's participation in the Gold Cup, whose final is scheduled for July 24, 2005 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Mexico plays its final Group C game on Wednesday against Jamaica in Houston, Texas at 7:00 p.m. CT (5:00 p.m. PT).
"It's important to begin identifying myself with Chivas USA fans, and these kinds of games will be important for people see me and know what I offer as a new player for the team," said García.
Chivas USA defeated fellow MLS expansion side Real Salt 5-1 last night and on Wednesday makes its debut in the U.S. Open Cup in Davidson, North Carolina against the Charlotte Eagles, before returning to The Home Depot Center to face the Los Angeles Galaxy next Saturday in the third edition of the 'Honda Súper Clásico'.