Chivas USA and their No. 1 spot in the allocation order are on the clock once again.
After passing on Freddy Adu and Benny Feilhaber, the Rojiblancos have the opportunity to select former United States Under-20 international Sammy Ochoa, who signed a contract with MLS on Wednesday. The Riverside, Calif., native has been with Mexican club Estudiantes Tecos since 2006 and has seen sporadic action for the Guadalajara-based club.
Ochoa’s team will be decided by Friday, and after the Chivas' defeat to the Portland Timbers on Wednesday night, head coach Robin Fraser admitted that Ochoa was a person of interest for the Goats.
“We have looked at him in the past,” Fraser told MLSsoccer.com over the phone on Wednesday. “Certainly this happened very fast on the day of the game, so we haven’t spent any time talking about it yet, but he’s a player that we will certainly discuss over the next two days. We really need to look at him and see how he plays. We looked at him in the past, so we just need to re-evaluate.”
Braun hopes to learn from Ángel
Justin Braun is considered one of the top forward prospects in MLS, and now the 24-year-old has the chance to learn from arguably the finest striker in MLS history, Juan Pablo Ángel.
Ángel made his move down the hallway to Chivas' locker room last week after being acquired in a trade from the LA Galaxy. He has paired up with Braun during training, but they have yet to see action alongside one another in a league match. For Braun, Ángel’s arrival can only serve to further his development.
“For me, it’s good to have players like that on the field day in and day out because I can pick up little things and learn things from watching him,” Braun told MLSsoccer.com. “Obviously he’s got tons of experience overseas and he’s someone that I feel like I can learn a lot from, not just asking him things, but [also] by watching him play.”
Ángel admits that he has kept a keen eye on Braun, who has scored seven goals for the Rojiblancos in 2011. The 35-year-old is eager to help his young teammate develop into a top-notch forward.
“He’s got a bright future,” Ángel told reporters last week of Braun. “He’s powerful and quick, but he’s got a lot to learn, so hopefully we can help him out to develop as a player.”
Back line to go international
Heath Pearce and Michael Umaña have formed a solid and stable tandem for Chivas USA, but now they may be facing off against one another on the international scene.
Both were called up to their respective national teams for the US-Costa Rica friendly match on Sept. 2 at the Home Depot Center (11 pm ET, ESPN2).
Pearce will also join the US for their Sept. 6 match against Belgium in Brussels (2:30 pm ET, ESPN2). Umaña, meanwhile, will remain with the Ticos for their match in Ecuador on the same day.
In addition to the two defenders, Chivas USA right back Ante Jazic was called by Canada for a pair of World Cup qualifiers against St. Lucia on Sept. 2 in Toronto and Sept. 6 against Puerto Rico in San Juan.
“I am definitely looking forward to it,” Jazic said in a statement. “I have been around for a long time and [Canada head coach Stephen Hart] knows what I can do and I’ll do whatever he needs me to do to help. … I’m just looking to contribute in any way possible."
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @adamserrano