Talk about a bad break.
Well, two actually, both involving Alejandro Moreno's nose.
That has kept the hard-working Chivas USA forward on the sidelines for the first two weekends of the Major Soccer League season. And it has kept him guessing as to when he might finally get into a game.
"This is not fun, obviously. It's not what I would have wanted to have to go through in the beginning of my year," said Moreno, whose team took on the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday at a soggy Home Depot Center (see latimes.com for results). "But we'll deal with it. We'll take a look at the big picture and think about what's ahead of us instead of what has happened over the last 10 days."
And a lot has happened over the last 10 days.
First, Moreno had surgery to repair a bone he broke in his nose a week earlier. After resting a week, he donned a clear plastic Kobe Bryant-style mask and took the field for a Monday scrimmage with the Chivas reserve team, only to break his nose again, requiring another operation that night.
Now it's up to the doctors to determine when Moreno can resume contact drills.
"We'll wait and see next week ... see how the healing process is going," Moreno said Friday, when he was the last player to leave the field after non-contact conditioning. "I never could have imagined that I was going to have two nose surgeries within a week. But it happened."
Moreno started the season, his second with Chivas, hoping to build on a 2011 campaign in which he played more minutes (2016), scored more goals (five) and took more shots (30) then he had since 2008, a season he capped by scoring the first goal in the Columbus Crew's MLS Cup win over the New York Red Bulls.
And any offense figured to be helpful for a team that was shut out 12 times last year and started Saturday scoreless in 2012 after losing a well-played game to Houston in its opener.
"That was the story for us a lot of last year," said Moreno, a 32-year-old from Venezuela. "We did a lot of good things, but somehow we managed to lose points when they were there to be taken. So it's important for us to be more consistent across the board and to play a good, solid 90 minutes of soccer where we get the result that our performance deserves."
Second-year Chivas Coach Robin Fraser agrees.
"Every game is going to be important," he said. "There are no bad teams in the league. There are no easy games. Every game is important, every point is important."
And for a player like Moreno, whose career is winding down, every opportunity is important as well. Which makes it even more difficult for him to have to sit and watch and wait.
"Hopefully, they'll make a decision by Wednesday in terms of what's ahead of me for the next couple of weeks," he said. "Physically I feel OK. And I want to be out there.
"It just happens that these last 10 days I've been a little accident prone, I guess."