[MLS 2013 COUNTDOWN] Chivas USA continued to wheel and deal, unloading non-Latinos and replacing them with Latinos. A day after Ben Zemanski was shipped to Portland for the MLS rights to U.S. international Jonathan Bornstein -- born to a Mexican mother -- the Rojiblancos
basically gave away veteran defender James Riley -- shipped to D.C. United for a Supplemental Draft pick -- and signed defenders Steve Purdy -- an El Salvador international by virtue of his mother's citizenship -- and Mexican-American Carlos Borja.
Purdy, 28, spent the last two seasons with the Portland Timbers. The 6-foot-4 center back made 11 starts for Portland and has been called in for international duty for both the U.S. and El Salvador.
“I think we are bringing a different style to Chivas USA, a lot of Latin American characteristics and I feel that, because of my size, I can bring a little something different to the team,” said Purdy. “It’s good to have a balance of different things on a club and I think I can complement the rest of the players. I’m very excited to play for [Coach Jose Luis Sanchez Sola] ‘El Chelis.’ He’s a very outspoken coach with a lot of passion, and that is something that I always love as a player."
Borja, 25, returns to Chivas USA for his third stint with the club. The former U.S. U-17 spent time in Chivas USA's youth system early in the club's history, played for Tapatio, Chivas Guadalajara’s second division squad, spent a season with Chivas USA and then played the last two seasons with USL PRO's Los Angeles Blues.
Chivas USA also announced Thursday that it has declined to pick up the contract options of Paolo Cardozo, Ryan Smith and John Valencia, and waived Cesar Romero.
The moves left the Rojiblancos with 20 players under contract, including Shalrie Joseph, Ante Jazic and Rauwshan McKenzie, who are not expected to be with the club when the season starts.
The other 17 players include seven Latino-Americans, five Americans, two Ecuadorans, one Colombian, one Frenchman and one Salvadoran.
Yes, there is no Mexican national, for the time being, on a club seeking to identify with Chivas de Guadalajara, a club with a Mexican-only policy.
Purdy was among six non-contract players to start in Chivas USA's most recent preseason game, a 3-1 win over the Blues.
Young Mexican-American Emilio Orozco, who has also spent time in the U.S. youth system, is expected to sign with Chivas USA. Also expected to stick around are 37-year-old Mexican defender Joaquin Velazquez and 30-year-old Peruvian defender Walter Vilchez, whom "El Chelis" coached in Mexico.
Chivas USA plays the Colorado Rapids on Friday in Las Vegas, where Chelis promises to field what he expects to be his starting XI for opening day.
MLS PRESEASON SCHEDULE:
Friday, Feb. 15
Chivas USA vs. Colorado at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nev.
Montreal vs. Philadelphia at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla.
Saturday, Feb. 16
Charleston Battery vs. Vancouver (Carolina Challenge Cup) at Blackbaud Stadium in Daniel Island, S.C.
Chicago vs. Houston (Carolina Challenge Cup) at Blackbaud Stadium in Daniel Island, S.C.
Los Angeles vs. Los Angeles Blues at Home Dept Center in Carson, Calif.
*Montreal vs. D.C. United (Disney Pro Soccer Classic) at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee, Fla.
*New York vs. New England (Desert Diamond Cup) at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Ariz.
*Orlando City SC vs. Columbus (Disney Pro Soccer Classic) at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee, Fla.
*Philadelphia vs. Toronto FC (Disney Pro Soccer Classic) at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee, Fla.
*Seattle vs. Real Salt Lake (Desert Diamond Cup) at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Ariz.
*Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Sporting KC (Disney Pro Soccer Classic) at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee, Fla.
*Streamed on mlssoccer.com
Sunday, Feb. 17
AIK vs. FC Dallas (Portland Preseason Tournament) at Jeld-Wen Field in Portland, Ore.
Portland vs. San Jose (Portland Preseason Tournament) at Jeld-Wen Field in Portland, Ore.