juan francisco 'paco' palencia

Report: Palencia to Chivas USA

Francisco Palencia is apparently close to becoming part of Major League Soccer.

Chivas de Guadalajara announced in a release on the club's official web site Monday that the two-time World Cup veteran and longtime Mexican league icon will join Chivas USA. Chivas USA officials confirmed the existence of the report but would not comment further.

According to the release, Palencia played his last game -- at least for now -- with Chivas de Guadalajara on Saturday. Palencia scored Chivas' lone goal in their 3-1 loss to Real Madrid.

"Juan Francisco Palencia is Chivas USA's new player," the report said. "He is fulfilling his committment to MLS with Chivas' North American brother."

Club officials have long said that any new player who signed with Chivas USA would not be available until after Aug. 15, when FIFA's international transfer window opens. Club officials have also spoken about the possibility of bringing in Palencia to help turn the season around for the expansion club.

Palencia, 32, scored 13 goals for Chivas since joining the club prior to the Apertura 2003 season. In Chivas' recent Copa Libertadores campaign, Palencia scored five goals and helped the club reach the semifinals.

Originally Palencia was set to play for Chivas USA and was announced as a member of the club last year when the club was introduced to the public. But in the winter, Palencia decided to stay in Mexico and played for Chivas de Guadalajara in the Clausura 2005 season, scoring three goals, including two against Club America.

Entering the week, the only Mexican reinforcement to join Chivas USA was Juan Pablo Garcia, who began training with the Red-and-White this week. On trial with the club are Hector "Pirata" Castro and Sergio Garcia "Matute," both of whom have been linked with the Red-and-White as well.

Luis Bueno is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story is not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.

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