Roberto Nurse and Chivas USA look to jump back into the thick of the Western Conference race.
V. Decolongon/Getty

Chivas look to dethrone Dynamo

HOUSTON DYNAMO vs. CHIVAS USA
ROBERTSON STADIUM, Houston, Texas
Aug. 20, 2008 | 8 p.m. CT (Ch. 55; FSN-W)
WEEK # 22 | GAME # 140

After having just moved into first place in the Western Conference for the first time all season, the defending MLS champion Houston Dynamo will look to lengthen their advantage when Chivas USA comes calling in a midweek match between the SuperLiga participants. The Dynamo have won three games in a row to move atop the West; they are six points ahead of Chivas USA, last year's winners of the conference regular season title who sit in sixth place entering the final third of the campaign.

REFEREE: Baldomero Toledo. SAR (bench): Paul Scott; JAR (opposite): Peter Balciunas; 4th: Colin Tait
MLS Career: 57 games; FC/gm: 27.1; Y/gm: 3.9; R: 24; pens: 21

INJURY REPORT: HOUSTON DYNAMO - PROBABLE: FW Nate Jaqua (abdominal strain) ... CHIVAS USA - OUT: FW Justin Braun (R ankle sprain); MF Jesse Marsch (fractured jaw); DF Lawson Vaughn (R knee sprain); MF Raphaël Wicky (R ankle surgery); DF Alex Zotinca (R knee surgery); QUESTIONABLE: FW Maykel Galindo (sports hernia surgery); PROBABLE: DF Jonathan Bornstein (R hip strain); FW Alecko Eskandarian (sports hernia surgery); MF Jorge Flores (R ankle tendonitis); FW Ante Razov (L knee sprain); DF Claudio Suárez (concussion)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: HOU: Pat Onstad, Dwayne De Rosario (Canada, WCQ v Jamaica); Brian Ching (USA; WCQ v Guatemala) ... CHV: Sacha Kljestan (USA; WCQ v Guatemala)
SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: HOU: Bobby Boswell ... CHV: Atiba Harris, Sacha Kljestan, Jesse Marsch
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: HOU: Stuart Holden ... CHV: Jonathan Bornstein, Maykel Galindo; Paulo Nagamura, Daniel Paladini, Shavar Thomas

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (8 meetings): Dynamo 3 wins, 11 goals ... Chivas USA 1 win, 5 goals ... Ties 4
AT ROBERTSON STADIUM (5 meetings): Dynamo 3 wins, 8 goals ... Chivas USA 0 wins, 1 goal ... Ties 2

• This is the second of three meetings between the clubs this season, the second of two at Robertson Stadium. The final matchup will come in the season finale for both clubs, Oct. 25 at The Home Depot Center.

• A year ago, Chivas USA failed to score in three meetings between the teams, the Dynamo winning both games before they played to a scoreless draw in Carson in the season finale.

• Chivas last scored in a league game against Houston on Aug. 26, 2006, having now gone 483 minutes without a goal against the Orange. In that time was also the Western Conference Semifinal Series between the clubs in 2006, won 3-2 on aggregate by Houston.

• The last time Chivas USA scored in a league match against Houston also came in their only victory against the Dynamo in eight all-time league meetings.

• Coaches record: Dominic Kinnear vs. CHV: P12 W5 L1 D6 ... Preki v HOU: P4 W0 L2 D2

LAST MEETING (MLS):
5/3: HOU 0, CHV 0

• The teams played to their second consecutive draw in league competition against each other, May 3 at Robertson Stadium.

• Goalkeeper Brad Guzan made five saves for his first clean sheet on the season, including a point-blank save on Corey Ashe late in the match.

• The Dynamo played the final eight minutes a man up after Claudio Suarez was sent off for pulling down Brian Mullan from behind when he looked to go clean through on goal. Referee Jozef Batko issued eight yellow cards in addition to the ejection in the physical match.

• Here's Kinnear's team: (4-3-1-2): Pat Onstad - Richard Mulrooney, Bobby Boswell, Patrick Ianni, Wade Barrett - Brian Mullan, Ricardo Clark, Stuart Holden (Corey Ashe 81) - Dwayne De Rosario - Franco Caraccio (Geoff Cameron 62), Brian Ching. Substitutes Not Used: Kyle Brown, Chris Wondolowski, Tony Caig, Mike Chabala, Craig Waibel

• Here's Preki's team (4-4-2): Brad Guzan - Lawson Vaughn (Chris Pozniak 13), Claudio Suarez, Shavar Thomas (Jim Curtin 62), Jonathan Bornstein - Sacha Kljestan, Jesse Marsch, Paulo Nagamura, Francisco Mendoza - Maykel Galindo, Ante Razov (Justin Braun 78). Substitutes Not Used: Atiba Harris, Dan Kennedy, Daniel Paladini, Keith Savage

HOUSTON DYNAMO

The Houston Dynamo ran their winning streak to three games and took over the top spot in the Western Conference, twice coming back from a goal down before defeating Real Salt Lake 4-3 on Saturday evening at Robertson Stadium. The Dynamo now have 29 points from 19 matches, two ahead of RSL and now just five off the pace of Eastern Conference leaders Columbus Crew for the best overall record.

LAST MATCH
• The Dynamo came into the game with back-to-back victories and riding a five-game unbeaten run. Real Salt Lake had been in first place for a month, the club's first experience atop the division, with two wins and two draws in their last four games.

• It took the visitors just three minutes to jump into the lead. Javier Morales slipped a through ball to Yura Movsisyan, and he split a pair of defenders before slotting home for his first goal of the season.

• But the Dynamo leveled in the 16th minute. Brad Davis found Brian Mullan in all alone behind the RSL backline, and he raced into the box before cutting away from 'keeper Nick Rimando and firing into the open goal.

• Yet RSL regained the lead just nine minutes later. A Dynamo clearance hit a teammate and fell right to Morales, who made no mistake from close range for his fourth goal.

• The Dynamo then roared back with three goals in 14 minutes. Craig Waibel freed Mullan down the right in the 29th minute, and he cut the ball back for Brian Ching in the corner of the area, who lashed home a left-footed drive inside the far post for the equalizer.

• Ricardo Clark moved Houston into the lead in the 35th minute with a stunning long-range strike from all of 30 yards. Three minutes before the break the Dynamo extended their lead to 4-2, when a Davis pass found Ching in the area, but he laid it back for Nate Jaqua, who banged home his first league goal since his return to MLS.

• Ten minutes from the end, RSL pulled a goal back when a Morales pass into the area was headed square by Robbie Findley, finding Kenny Deuchar, who clinically finished with an angled shot for his third goal on the campaign, but Real could pull no closer.

• Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made two changes to the team that defeated Columbus 2-0 at home the previous weekend. Eddie Robinson returned to central defense for Geoff Cameron, and Dwayne De Rosario returned to the lineup in place of Corey Ashe.

• Here's Kinnear's team (4-3-1-2): Pat Onstad - Craig Waibel, Bobby Boswell, Eddie Robinson, Wade Barrett - Brian Mullan, Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis (Corey Ashe 69) - Dwayne De Rosario (Stuart Holden 82) - Nate Jaqua (Kei Kamara 53), Brian Ching. Substitutes Not Used: Tony Caig, Geoff Cameron, Patrick Ianni, Richard Mulrooney

• "The result is the most important thing to come out of the game," Kinnear said. "We won, and we are on top of the conference. All the guys played well tonight. We could have probably scored more goals tonight, especially in the second half. I knew we had a goal in us tonight just because of the way the guys were warming up and the way they practiced tonight.

TEAM NEWS
• With defender Eddie Robinson returning to the starting lineup for the first time since July 23 and defender Patrick Ianni and midfielder Stuart Holden back from the Olympics, the Dynamo were as close to full strength as they had been all season.

• "We finally have everyone back healthy. This is the first time we started with the projected starting lineup we have had the last two years," said Brad Davis. "Things are going well for us. We aren't going to put our head down."

• After three consecutive shutouts, the Dynamo were beaten for three goals - the third time this season they've allowed three goals in a game. The first two came all the way back in the first two games of the season.

• "We gave up some rather easy chances, and we were disappointed that that happened," said defender Wade Barrett. "It's always a nice thing when you can learn a lesson and get three points at the same time. I think we will learn a lesson from the mistakes we made tonight, and hopefully, not let it happen again. At the end of the day, we came out with three points, so we are happy with that."

• For the game against Chivas, the Dynamo will be without Dwayne De Rosario, Pat Onstad and Brian Ching, all away on national team duty for World Cup qualifying.

• "We were in the same position last year," Davis said. "It is a tough game for us on Wednesday against Chivas USA. We get three points there, then that gives us five on top of the table in our conference. We got a great win tonight, but we have to look forward to Wednesday which is a big game for us."

CHIVAS USA

Chivas USA rebounded from back-to-back losses but still saw their winless run reach four games, the Los Angeles Galaxy hitting for a late equalizer for a 2-2 draw in the final SuperClasico of the league campaign. Chivas USA have 23 points from 19 matches, now sitting in sixth place in the Western Conference, a point behind the tie between the Galaxy and Colorado and just two points ahead of San Jose.

LAST MATCH
• Cobi Jones was in his first game as interim head coach of the Galaxy, following the resignation of Ruud Gullit to start the week, with LA winless in seven consecutive games. Chivas USA were coming off back-to-back losses in their first two league games back following a break to compete in SuperLiga.

• It took the Galaxy just eight minutes to jump into the lead. Chris Klein sent a long pass downfield from the midfield stripe and found Landon Donovan scampering free behind the Chivas backline. Donovan raced into the area before finishing for his league-leading 14th goal on the season.

• But Chivas pulled ahead with two goals in 14 minutes after the break. In the 50th minute, a Paulo Nagamura pass from the right was dummied masterfully by Roberto Nurse and Atiba Harris ripped it high into the goal.

• Then Nagamura scored his first on the season, set up by Harris. Harris slid in a through ball from outside the box on the left, finding Nagumura cutting behind the Galaxy rearguard, and he slipped it under goalkeeper Steve Cronin from the top of the goal area.

• But the Galaxy snatched the dramatic equalizer two minutes into stoppage time. From a high Ante Jazic cross from the left, Alan Gordon rose over the Red-and-White's backline and snapped a header into the back of the net for his first goal in three months.

• Chivas USA head coach Preki made two changes to the team that lost 3-2 to the Kansas City Wizards the previous weekend. Paulo Nagamura returned from suspension and Daniel Paladini came back into the team, in place of Lawson Vaughn and Roberto Nurse.

• Here's Preki's team (4-4-2): Zach Thornton - Carey Talley, Bobby Burling, Shavar Thomas (Jim Curtin 78), Francisco Mendoza - Keith Savage (Maykel Galindo 64), Jesse Marsch, Paulo Nagamura, Daniel Paladini - Justin Braun (Roberto Nurse 18), Atiba Harris. Substitutes Not Used: Kraig Chiles, Eric Ebert, Anthony Hamilton, Dan Kennedy

TEAM NEWS
• The key to the late Galaxy comeback came when Marsch was forced from the field with what later turned out to be a fractured jaw, which left Chivas down a man after Preki had used his three available substitutions. The MLS Original will be out 6-8 weeks as a result of the injury.

• "That time of the game that when they're pushing people forward, it definitely makes it tougher, but I thought we did a great job. We give them one little play - and to their credit, a good goal - but like I said, injury time playing the last 10-12 minutes without him definitely hurt us," said Bobby Burling. "He's our leader in the midfield, he's our team captain when Claudio's not on the field, and the way he went down kind of made us play a little harder, we held on there almost to the last minute, but you know, injury time goal is going to kill you at the end."

• With the draw, the Galaxy took the SuperClasico season series for the third time in four years. The Galaxy won the first meeting, then the teams played to draws in the next two.

• "Just like another one," said Paulo Nagamura, who scored Chivas USA's second goal. "They are always hard games and I like it. I enjoy playing these games. My style fits these kinds of games and I like playing these kinds of games, especially against the Galaxy."

• Chivas has now scored two goals in each of their last two games - and have only a single point to show for it. The Red-and-White have scored just nine goals in their last nine games, with those four in the last two.

• "It was a lot like that the second game the last time we played them," Burling said, referring to a 1-1 draw on July 10. "We tried not to open it up as much but when they're throwing six or seven guys forward at a time, it makes it tough defensively and tough to counter on them without Jesse in there. To escape with a point is a little bit disappointing but I guess we'll take it."