Chivas' Edgar Mejia, left, fights for the ball during a semifinals… (Eduardo Verdugo / Associated…)
The teams already shared a name and an owner. But if that wasn't enough to persuade you that Jorge Vergara's soccer franchises in Mexico and the U.S. were one team, maybe Friday's transaction will.
With its Major League Soccer opener just nine days away, Chivas USA fortified its roster by adding three players -- midfielders Edgar Mejia, forward Giovani Casillas and defender Mario de Luna -- on loan from Chivas de Guadalajara.
Not that any of this should come as a surprise.
Vergara, who took sole ownership of Chivas USA last August, has said he wanted to create more synergy between his teams, especially in scouting and player development. That would allow him to send young players like the 19-year-old Casillas to the U.S. to play regularly rather than having him sitting on the bench in Guadalajara. And by owning both clubs, Vergara wouldn't have to busy himself with negotiating transfer fees and the like.
Sending players from Chivas USA back to Mexico is more problematic, however, since Vergara's Mexican League franchise has never used a player who didn't qualify for Mexican citizenship. So Vergara came up with a solution there too, with Chivas USA trading or declining to sign 12 non-Mexicans from last year's team while bringing in seven Latinos, six of whom have Mexican parents.
"I'm not closing the doors to Anglo players or any other nationality," Vergara said last November. "I think we just got [away from] the philosophy of the team. We need to promote Mexican American players.
"We can benefit both teams because we do additional scouting and take some talent from the U.S. market to Mexico."
New Chivas USA Manager Jose Luis Sanchez Sola, a former Mexican League coach, took exception to assertions that the team had adopted a "Latino-only" policy.
"It's crass and racist to say that we're ridding ourselves of Anglo players," Sanchez Sola said in an interview with Goal.com. Instead, he said the personnel moves the team has made in the last four months were done for financial and soccer reasons.
However, last month Sanchez Sola gave a different reason when asked why he had added so many Mexicans to his roster.
”That’s part of the objective of the club’s owner," he said. "Sr. Vergara wants Guadalajara and the United States – within his objectives – to be a filter for those players, that they pass through here."
Chivas USA plays its final preseason match Saturday morning at the Home Depot Center before opening the MLS regular season March 2, playing host to the Columbus Crew.
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