Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ante times two; Sacha off to Europe

It got kind of confusing at times here around Home Depot Center sometimes during the last couple of seasons.

"I interviewed Ante about..." someone would tell me, and I'd immediately think Razov, he of Chivas USA. But sometimes, the person on the other end was thinking Jazic, he of the Galaxy. It wasn't that often but there were times, especially before and after a Super Clasico, that it got a bit tricky to sort out the different Antes.

Now, it's going to get even more trickier. Chivas USA acquired Ante Jazic in a draft-day trade with the Galaxy. Jazic heads across the hall to the Red-and-White along with third- and fourth-round draft choices in exchange for Chivas USA's second round pick. Chivas picked Kyle Christensen, a forward from the University of Denver, and Jamie Franks, a midfielder out of Wake Forest. Earlier in the day, Chivas took Wake Forest midfielder Michael Lahoud with the ninth overall draft choice.

I'll blog about the impact of the Jazic trade and the Galaxy draft in general in a separate post... because they did do well on Thursday.

In terms of Chivas USA, though, this seems to solidify a few things on the left side of the field. Ante Jazic is a left back and has played central defense before. With Shavar Thomas, Claudio Suarez, Jim Curtin and Bobby Burling, Chivas is pretty set at central defense, which leaves Jazic to contend for a spot at left back. Where does this leave Jonathan Bornstein? Likely at left midfield, or there may be an outside chance of him moving over to the right as he did play there a few times last season.

If Bornstein does indeed move to the left side of the midfield to replace the spot left vacant by Panchito Mendoza's exit, the odd man out seems to be Jorge Flores. I know a lot of fans are clamoring for more playing time for "Sueno" but he's going to have to earn it, and picking up Jazic means a tougher go at it for Flores. Still, the squad is deeper with Jazic aboard.

Also on Thursday, the club announced that Sacha Kljestan is headed to Celtic for a weeklong trial. Kljestan bolted US national team camp for a trip to Scotland to train with Celtic but will be back stateside for the US-Sweden game at HDC on Jan. 24. Kljestan had been linked to several European sides during the offseason and this move seems like it could be a precursor for an outright transfer. It seems like it would be in his hands whether to make the move or not; if he impresses, he's probably good as gone.

Once training camp starts, the Sacha situation will likely be close to being resolved if it hasn't been resolved already. Kljestan's future seems in Europe, and if Chivas USA is stuck in a similar position with Kljestan as they were with Brad Guzan a year ago, the club might ultimately be stuck with another unenviable position: deal the player in the summer or lose him at the end of the year.

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