[MLS] After forsaking MLS to try his luck overseas thousands of miles from home, Sal Zizzo has returned to Southern California.
The native of San Diego and former UCLA Bruin is the newest member of Chivas USA, following a weighted lottery conducted for his rights on Wednesday. Released by German club Hannover at the end of June, Zizzo came to MLS by the mechanism used for U.S. players with no league experience who are not subject to the allocation process. He played only eight games in three seasons for Hannover while battling illness and injuries, which included a torn ACL last October.
Though Zizzo, 23, has represented the U.S. at the U-20 and U-23 levels and has one cap for the national team (against Sweden in August, 2007) MLS did not place him in the allocation process that is used to distribute most national-team players.
The participating teams – four MLS teams opted out of the procedure – were allotted percentages in reverse order of their record in the last 30 league games (excluding playoffs). D.C. United ranked at the top with the best chance of winning the lottery.
Chivas USA had the third best chance (16.28 percent) of snagging Zizzo, who left UCLA after two collegiate seasons and playing for the U.S. at the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Declining to participate in this lottery were New England, Chicago, Toronto FC and Columbus. Chivas USA won’t be eligible to claim another player in a weighted lottery for the rest of the season.
Teams that participated in the lottery can attempt to acquire Zizzo’s rights in a trade. His skillful play on the flank could be utilized by several teams, such as Seattle, which could be in the market for an attacker if Freddie Ljungberg – consigned to the bench for the last three weeks and absent from training sessions on several occasions – chooses to leave. There is also supposedly interest from D.C. United, which jettisoned forward Luciano Emilio last week.
Zizzo didn’t play in Chivas USA’s SuperLiga match with Pachuca on Wednesday. He is expected to train with his new teammates for the first time Thursday morning.
[Correction: Soccer America erred when it reported in Wednesday Soccer America Daily that there had been no official acknowledgment from MLS that a weighted lottery would be conducted for teams wishing to acquire Zizzo's rights. On Tuesday, MLS had announced that Zizzo had signed and would be assigned via a lottery.]