Boca Juniors finally unveiled its roster for a three-game Pacific Coast tour – starting Sunday against the Galaxy at Home Depot Center – and it's missing the club's biggest stars.
Coach Roberto Pompei is clearly using the trek to check out young players and provide them a little experience. Nine players on the roster played in one game or not at all for the Buenos Aires giant during the just-completed Clausura (spring season) in Argentina's Primera Division.
Among the missing are Argentine forward Martin Palermo, who netted a team-best 10 goals in 19 games during the Clausura, Paraguayan defender Claudio Morel and Chilean midfielder Gary Medel. Each is on his country's 30-man preliminary World Cup roster.
Also missing is star midfielder Juan Roman Riquelme, a master playmaker whose absence from Diego Maradona's Argentina sides has been controversial. He is not, as expected, on the World Cup roster but is being given time off during Boca's trip.
Only seven players on the roster played in more than half than Boca's games in a 5-9-5 campaign, including starting goalkeeper Javier Hernan Garcia, and defender Luciano Fabian Munoz, who started for the Argentine under-23 team that won the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Former Argentine international defender Hugo Ibarra also is on the roster.
Boca Juniors, a storied club which has won 24 Argentine professional titles -- a number topped only by archrival River Plate's 33 championships -- six Copa Libertadores crowns and three world club titles, finish 16th of 20 teams in the Clausura. It last won a domestic title in the 2008 Apertura (fall season).
Boca will follow Sunday's 5 p.m. game against the Galaxy with matches Wednesday against the Seattle Sounders and May 29 against USSF D2 Pro League side Portland Timbers, who will be joining Major League Soccer next year.
Boca's roster, with 2010 Clausura statistics:
Josue Ayala, 1-1
Javier Hernan Garcia, 15 games-15 starts
Sebastian D'Angelo, 0-0
Leandro Aguirre, 0-0 (0 goals-0 assists)
Breyner Bonilla, 3-3 (0-0)
Hugo Ibarra, 9-9 (0-0)
Leandro Marin, 1-0 (0-0)
Luciano Fabian Monzon, 13-13 (2-1)
Esquiel Munoz, 15-14 (0-0)
Gaston Sauro, 0-0 (0-0)
Nicolas Colazo, 1-0 (0-0)
Cristian Erbes, 16-11 (1-0)
Matias Gimenez, 8-8 (2-0)
Jesus Mendez, 10-10 (0-0)
Gaston Rossi, 0-0 (0-0)
Sergio Araujo, 0-0 (0-0)
Nicolas Blandi, 0-0 (0-0)
Orlando Gaora Lugo, 1-0 (0-0)
Pablo Mouche, 10-2 (1-0)
Lucas Viatri, 12-1 (1-0)