CHIVAS USA: A more intimate HDC

CARSON -- Chivas USA opens its season Sunday afternoon against the Houston Dynamo, and there will be a more intimate Home Depot Center to greet the club.

The Goats have altered the stadium configuration, dropping capacity for their games from 27,000 to 18,800 -- about what they're looking for in the new stadium the hope to build somewhere in the L.A. area in the next five years.

To do so, they will close the upper-level seats on the eastern stands and sections 116-127 on the north end, covering them with banners, according to a media advisory distributed Friday.

Chivas has been scouting locations for a new stadium for several years and would like to have one in place by 2014, according to sources within the club. They have looked at sites in Pomona and Santa Ana, and there have been talks with USC about an 18,000-seat facility on the space now occupied by the Los Angeles Sports Arena, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the discussions.

One possibility, a Chivas source said, would be to play in the Coliseum while such a stadium -- which also would be used by USC's lacrosse and women's soccer teams -- was constructed. The plans require the university to take control of the Coliseum site.

NEW TRIALIST: Chivas is up to eight trialists in camp with the addition this week of two more, one of them quite interesting. Nigerian John Owoeri, a small but solidly built forward/winger who has played in Holland for Feyenoord, Belgium for Westerlo, Nigerian power Enyimba and most recently in Egypt with Ismaily.

Head coach Robin Fraser said he was almost signed “toward the end of last year” by the Columbus Crew. “I first saw John when I was assistant coach at Real Salt Lake. I've kept tabs on him since.”

Owoeri started five of Nigeria's six games, including the final, at the 2005 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Holland, scoring in the quarterfinal victory over the Dutch. The Eagles, who featured Chelsea's John Obi Mikel, lost to Lionel Messi and Argentina in the title game.

The other new trialist is Mexican winger Ernesto Hutchinson, who has indoor (or futbol rapido, as they call it) experience in Nuevo Leon.

Fraser said he wants to make decisions on all eight -- defenders Matt Dallman, Scott Gordon and Mario Ledesma, and midfielders Jose Manuel Najera, Pablo Sandoval and Alan Souza are the others -- by next week.

“It's kind of the last round to look at these players,” he said. “There's no immediate deadline [to make decisions], but the players have to look for their futures [and] we have to be mindful of that.”

WORTH NOTING: Alejandro Moreno underwent surgery Tuesday to repair his nose, which was broken in the Goats' opener in last week's preseason tournament in Portland. He says he'll be ready if needed Sunday and will be wearing a mask if called upon. … Patrick McLain, an undrafted rookie out of Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, was signed Friday as the No. 3 goalkeeper. He edged out UCLA All-American Brian Rowe for the job. “They're both very good goalkeepers,” Fraser said.l “I think they both have good professional futures. If you ask us where we are today, maybe Patrick's a step ahead in our eyes. They're both very good, but we have to make a decision.” ... Forward Cesar Romero, who scored 33 goals in just seven games for indoor side Tijuana Revolucion before signing with Chivas, this week was selected to the All-PASL Pro second-team. ... Talks are continuing with Glendora teen Marco Delgado on a Home Grown Player contract.