Saturday, October 1, 2011
LA Galaxy unaware of interest in Raul Mendiola
After the Galaxy's victory today over Chivas USA in the mini-SuperClasico on Saturday, I asked Academy Director Chris Klein about the rumors surrounding the nifty playmaker.
"Not that I am aware of," Klein replied regarding Manchester City taking any interest in the player.
The reason this is significant, beyond the obvious ones, is the the unwritten rules of the Development Academy. Trials with professional clubs are supposed to be passed up the ladder so the federation is aware of any activity. Another California academy violated this rule last year, and received a phone call about proper procedure. I doubt many academies would toe that line again, especially an MLS academy.
That said, Mendiola is a special case because he already has an agent (and no intention of playing college soccer). So, there could be a plausible situation in which LA has yet to be informed about his (or perhaps more accurately said, his agent's) intentions, but it does seem unlikely.
Regarding Mendiola's citizenship, Klein offered no new details.
Mendiola's coach at Arsenal FC, P.J. Brown, was the one who was pushing the agenda with citizenship. I am not sure if Brown is still involved considering Mendiola's shift to a new team, but he is the one who told me that there were three people working on it last spring.
As for the actual game, both teams looked like they were still getting adjusted to new coaches and systems. Neither team had many returners from the year before.
U.S. U-17 veterans Mario Rodriguez (LA Galaxy) and Stevie Rodriguez (Chivas USA) did well. Stevie was the most dangerous player on the field for Chivas USA, but it looked like he could use some other options around him in the attack. The Rojiblancos were too eager to force the issue down the middle and rarely had anything in the wings.
Mario played out wide in a 4-3-3 formation, which does not seem like his strongest position, but Jack McBean occupies the center forward role so Mario is adapting. He had some good moments in the first half and set up McBean a few times, but he was winded in the second half and eventually replaced by Pedro 'Peter' Velasquez.
McBean, who ended up with the game-winner, had an off day. His touch was off and he just couldn't put it together for any stretch of the morning. He also had a lot of trouble linking with Mendiola.