Galaxy’s Moreno Gets Call to Join Venezuela

Times Staff Writer

Alejandro Moreno, a 24-year-old forward whose consistent play has helped increase his stock with the Galaxy, was called up to Venezuela’s national team for a friendly Oct. 9 game against Guatemala.

It is Moreno’s first promotion to the national side. The team is preparing for World Cup qualifying games in November against Colombia and Bolivia.

“Every little kid in Venezuela who plays soccer dreams about playing for the national team,” said Moreno, who will depart Sunday for San Cristobal, Venezuela, after the Galaxy plays a game at Chicago.

“I had that dream too, but once I came here, I wanted to be sure that I made an impact with the Galaxy, then things would fall into place.”

The Galaxy picked Moreno in the third round of the 2002 Major League Soccer draft.


He has appeared in 38 games with three goals and four assists, with most of the production coming in the last few months.

“What he’s doing now is finding the net and playing with confidence,” Galaxy Coach Sigi Schmid said.

“It’s a tremendous honor for him and a tremendous honor for the Galaxy, because it shows the kind of players we are able to produce.”

Chivas Fires Coach

Chivas of Guadalajara, which has won only three of its first 10 games in Mexico’s Apertura championship, fired its coach, Eduardo De La Torre.

Club owner Jorge Vergara, who is expected to field an expansion team in MLS next season or in 2005, had given De La Torre a five-year contract less than a year ago.

Dutchman Hans Westerhoff, who oversaw the club’s youth teams, was named De La Torre’s successor.

Champions League

English teams continued to flop in the Champions League as Chelsea and Manchester United lost Wednesday.

Turkish champion Besiktas, which had never won a Champions League match outside its country, knocked off high-payroll Chelsea, 2-0, behind two goals from Sergan Yalcin.

At Stuttgart, Germany, Imre Szabics and Kevin Kuranyi scored two minutes apart early in the second half for VfB Stuttgart in a 2-1 victory over Manchester United.

A day earlier, another English team, Arsenel, played to an uninspired 0-0 tie at Lokomotiv Moscow.

In other key games Wednesday: Defending champion AC Milan was held to a 0-0 tie against Celta Vigo; Wesley Sonck scored both goals to lead Ajax Amsterdam to a 2-0 victory over FC Brugge; Didier Drogba had a hat trick in Marseille’s 3-0 victory over Partizan Belgrade; and 10-time champion Real Madrid came back for a 3-1 victory over FC Porto on goals by Ivan Helguera, Santiago Solari and Zinedine Zidane.

Quick Passes

Malcolm Glazer, the owner of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers who also has had talks about purchasing the Dodgers, has increased his stake in Manchester United from 3.17% to 5.92%, the club said.... Manchester United Coach Sir Alex Ferguson says he has been offered a contract extension through the 2007 season. If Ferguson accepts, it would push his tenure past 20 seasons. The salary is reportedly for $5 million a season.... Former England star midfielder Paul Gascoigne will begin a tryout with club Al Jazira in the United Arab Emirates.... Struggling Brazilian club Corinthians has hired former World Cup players Rivelino and Junior as technical director and coach, respectively.... John Wolyniec scored in the 88th minute and Amado Guevara scored twice to lead the New York/New Jersey MetroStars to a 3-2 victory over D.C. United in a U.S. Open Cup semifinal at Piscataway, N.J. The MetroStars will play the Chicago Fire in the final on Oct. 15 at a site that has yet to be determined.... Mark Chung scored a goal in the final seven minutes to give the Colorado Rapids a 1-1 tie Wednesday night with the Chicago Fire at Denver. Jesse Marsch had the lone goal for Chicago.

Times wire services contributed to this report.