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GALAXY NOTEBOOK: SURGERY FOR GALAXY FORWARD.

Byline: Fred J. Robledo Staff Writer

PASADENA - Galaxy starting forward Chris Albright thought he had bruised his foot in Saturday's 2-1 overtime victory over Chicago, but the pain worsened during a light jog Wednesday. X-rays on Thursday revealed that he had fractured his right foot and will have surgery today. He is expected to miss six to eight weeks.

Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid acquired Albright from D.C. United in the offseason and had been pleased with his effort in the Galaxy's first two games, even though he had not scored.

``Chris provides more things than just goals,'' Schmid said. ``He has good movement off the ball and an ability to pop up on the right and left side. And his movement back and forth also allows (forward) Carlos (Ruiz) to stay centrally.

``It's those little things and doing a good job of holding the ball and being a connection that we will miss.''

Schmid sat down with reserve forward Brian Mullan after Thursday's practice to tell the second-year player that he will replace Albright for Saturday's game against Dallas at the Rose Bowl. Mullan scored two goals with two assists in his first 10 games of the 2001 season but suffered a season-ending ankle injury in June.

Mullan hoped to be the opening-day starter along with Ruiz, who has all four Galaxy goals in two games, but he had not been as impressive in the exhibition season as Albright.

``This is not the way I wanted it to happen, but, obviously, it gives me an opportunity to get on the field and get that feeling back,'' Mullan said. ``I've been trying to do too much in the past month, so I just need to get back to the basics and what works for me.''

Schmid is hoping Mullan will play with more ease now that he's been named the starter for the immediate future.

``I think he's been pressing a little too much, but Brian always gives you everything he has, in terms of energy level. But you have to remember, he's only played in three 90-minute games since last June, so his rhythm and timing is not where it will be in a month or two months from now.''

--Ochoa future: Midfielder Jesus Ochoa, the 1997-98 CIF Division I Player of the Year from Riverside Poly, was signed by the Galaxy as a developmental player in February.

Ochoa trained with Mexico's Guadalajara Chivas as a teen-ager and helped the A-League's Portland Timbers reach the quarterfinals in the A-League playoffs last season.

On Tuesday, Ochoa started for the Galaxy in an exhibition against his former Portland team. He assisted on Simon Elliott's goal as the Galaxy lost 2-1. Most of the Galaxy starters did not play because the game was played on a hard artificial surface in Portland.

Schmid believes Ochoa, 21, has a bright future.

``He has good potential, but he's still learning,'' Schmid said. ``What you look for in young players is that light. You look for brilliance - not all the time but moments of them.

``You're not looking for consistency; that's what you get when somebody gets veteran and then you can bank on the performance game in and game out. But in a young player, you have to see those bright lights once in a while, and I continue to see bright lights with (Ochoa).''
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 12, 2002
Words:560
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