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Chivas USA, in break from form, signs Captain America

Carlos Bocanegra, shown with the U.S. team in 2011, signed with Chivas USA on Monday.
(Rob Tringali / Getty Images)

Chivas USA signed another player of Mexican descent Monday. But don’t expect this one to resurface playing for the Mexican national team or in the Mexican league with Chivas of Guadalajara.

That’s because Carlos Bocanegra earned the nickname “Captain America” by captaining the U.S. in the 2010 World Cup. And his return to Major League Soccer could fuel a return to form that may propel him back onto a national team hasn’t played for since November.

“I’ve very excited to join the club,” said Bocanegra, who will be eligible to play for Chivas USA when the summer transfer window opens July 9, pending receipt of his international transfer certificate.

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A center back, the 34-year-old Bocanegra comes to Chivas USA from second-division Spanish club Racing Santander, from whom he was playing while on loan from Scotland’s Rangers. And Chivas had to pull some strings to get him, trading a first-round pick in the 2014 SuperDraft and an international roster spot to Toronto FC in exchange for the first allocation ranking slot, held by Toronto, that allowed the last-place team to select Bocanengra.

“I know it’s going to be a big challenge because the club hasn’t been getting the greatest results on the field,” Bocanegra said. “But it’s something I’m looking forward to. The club has made me feel very welcomed and did a big effort to have me sign with the club.”

“It’s really good to be coming back home,” continued Bocanegra, the son of a Mexican father and a standout at both Alta Loma High and UCLA.

His presence on the back line will provide a welcome boost for a Chivas team that has given up a league-high 31 goals in 16 games. And it will likely give Bocanegra a chance to prove to national team Coach Juergen Klinsmann he merits another call-up to the U.S. squad.

“With Carlos I had a long talk,” Klinsmann said last week when asked why Bocanegra was left off the roster for this month’s Gold Cup. “He’s basically in the middle of another move. He’s in the middle of another change.

“So we agreed to leave him out of that roster in order for him to have all the options open to join a new team from the start in preseason, and not coming in kind of late into this new opportunity.”

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