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Columbus signs Venezuelan striker
by Ridge Mahoney, August 20th, 2009 7AM
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[MLS] The late-season signings continue. Columbus, riding a five-game winning streak in league play and a run of nine games unbeaten in all competitions, might seem well-set for the stretch run of defending its MLS title. Yet it has embarked in group play of Concacaf Champions' League as well, and thus the signing of 24-year-old Venezuelan striker Emilio Renteria fills the last vacant spot on the 18-man roster as games are about to pile up.

He will be eligible to play as soon as the league receives his international transfer certificate.

Salary terms weren't disclosed. He takes the place of forward Pat Noonan, traded to Colorado several weeks ago, whose base salary this season is $175,008.

"Emilio has been on our radar for some time now and we're pleased to get him signed," said Crew technical director Brian Bliss in a team press release. "He possesses good speed, quickness and long-range shooting ability, and we're excited to incorporate him into the team."

Renteria (5-foot-9, 178 pounds) comes to MLS from Caracas FC, which he joined in 2007 and scored 16 goals and played in two editions of the Copa Libertadores, including a run to the quarterfinals last spring. He started his career in 2001 with Levante of the Spanish Second Division, and also played for Deportivo Italia and UA Maricaibo in his native country before joining Caracas.

He arrived in Columbus a week ago to train and take a physical, and MLS needed a few extra days to clear up whether or not Caracas retained any rights to him. He and new Crew teammate Alejandro Moreno were in uniform a week ago when Venezuela beat Colombia, 2-1, in a friendly at Giants Stadium. Renteria has also represented Venezuela at the U-17, U-20, and U-23 levels.

PADILLA MEET AND GREET. Chivas USA introduced Jesus Padilla to the media Tuesday. He joins the MLS team on loan from parent club Guadalajara, where he's played only 24 games (two starts) and scored one goal in eight seasons (Apertura and Clausura) since joining the first team in 2006. His playoff experience is a meager three minutes.

He found himself ensnared in controversy when his birthplace - San Jose, Calif. - became publicized. Guadalajara prides itself in signing only Mexican players and this had been clarified to players mean born in Mexico, but the since the news emerged of his birthplace the parent club has reiterated Padilla is in good standing.

The controversy has been linked to this loan move, but his age (22), limited playing time, and stiff competition at the forward spot with Javier "Chicarito" Hernandez, Alberto Medina, Omar Arellano and Omar Bravo is justification enough.

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