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April 12, 2007

Frenchman officially part of club

Laurent Merlin joined Chivas USA on Thursday and could play as soon as Saturday in Houston.
Laurent Merlin joined Chivas USA on Thursday and could play as soon as Saturday in Houston.
Photo courtesy of Juan Miranda/Chivas USA
Laurent Merlin officially joined Chivas USA on Thursday after training with the club for more than one month.

Pending approval of a work visa, Merlin will be able to play against Houston on Saturday in Chivas USA's first road match of the season.

Merlin, 22, came to Southern California as one of 800 hopefuls who tried out for the Los Angeles Galaxy on Feb. 10. The native of Marseille, France, Merlin was the final player left standing with the Galaxy. He joined the club on a preseason trip to Bermuda but ultimately did not figure in Galaxy coach Frank Yallop's plans.

Merlin then joined Chivas USA and earned immediate playing time at striker. Chivas USA coach Preki gave Merlin an opportunity to prove his worth to help build up the depth at the forward position.

Now, Chivas USA features at least five strikers. Ante Razov, who scored in Saturday's season-opening 2-0 win over Toronto FC, and Maykel Galindo, who assisted on Razov's goal, appear set at starters. Rookie John Cunliffe, who assisted on Sacha Kljestan's goal Saturday, and Matt Taylor are also in the mix.

Chivas USA also announced the signing of forward Anthony Hamilton, who was a supplemental draft pick this year, as well as defenders Desmond Brooks and Bobby Burling.
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