MLS Match Preview: Chicago Fire vs. Chivas USA

CHICAGO FIRE vs CHIVAS USA 
TOYOTA PARK, Bridgeview, Ill.
March 24, 2013 (WEEK 4, MLS Game #34)
4 p.m. CT (UniMás; My50 Chi.) 

The Chicago Fire will be aiming to turn around their early-season fortunes when they face Chivas USA in an interconference match on Sunday afternoon at Toyota Park. The Fire have yet to score a goal this season, getting their first point of year in a scoreless draw at Kansas City last weekend. Chivas USA have taken points from two consecutive games in dramatic fashion, a late equalizer giving them a 1-1 draw with the LA Galaxy last weekend in the first SuperClásico of the year. 

DOWNLOAD FULL GAME GUIDE (PDF)

REFEREE: Sorin Stoica. SAR (bench): Anthony Vasoli; JAR (opposite): James Conlee; 4th: Jorge Gonzalez MLS Career: 9 games; FC/gm: 27.6; Y/gm: 4.2; R: 1; pens: 4 

DISABLED LIST: none
SUSPENDED: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: CHI: Sean Johnson (USA; vs. Costa Rica); Joel Lindpere (Estonia; vs. Netherlands) 

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (15 meetings): Fire 8 wins, 24 goals … Chivas USA 4 wins, 17 goals … Ties 3
AT CHICAGO (23 meetings): Fire 4 wins, 12 goals … Chivas USA 2 wins, 8 goals … Ties 1 
LAST YEAR (MLS): 5/4: CHV 1, CHI 2 (Angel 23 -- Berry 25; Pappa 93+)

  • This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
  • Chivas USA have not defeated the Chicago Fire since 2008. Over the last eight league meetings, the Fire have won six, with two draws; they also won a SuperLiga match over that span. 
  • Chivas USA haven’t won in Bridgeview since 2007, the second of back-to-back road wins vs. the Fire.
  • Coaches record: Frank Klopas vs. CHV: P3 W2 L0 D1 … José Luis Sánchez Solá v CHI: first game  CHICAGO FIRE The Chicago Fire are still looking for a first win and a first goal of the new season, reaching a scoreless draw with Sporting Kansas City on Saturday afternoon at Sporting Park.

LAST MATCH

  • Sporting put 20 attempts toward goal, only three of which were on frame, and all of those straight at Fire 'keeper Sean Johnson. 
  • The Fire nearly stole all three points in second-half stoppage time, when Dan Paladini broke in alone on goal. But Sporting 'keeper Jimmy Nielsen made the save, his only one of the match.
  • Fire head coach Frank Klopas made two changes to the team that fell 1-0 to the New England Revolution at Toyota Park. Michael Videira started at right back in place of Steven Kinney, and Daniel Paladini came into the midfield in place of Joel Lindpere.
  • CHICAGO FIRE (4-2-3-1): Sean Johnson - Michael Videira (Wells Thompson 83), Austin Berry, Jalil Anibaba, Gonzalo Segares - Jeff Larentowicz, Daniel Paladini - Patrick Nyarko, Chris Rolfe, Dilly Duka (Alex 59) - Sherjill MacDonald (Maicon Santos 67).

TEAM NEWS 

  • The Fire are still looking for their first goal this season after three games. In 2004, the club opened the season with three consecutive attacking shutouts – playing to two consecutive scoreless draws before a 2-0 loss at Dallas. 
  • Daniel Paladini was given a start in midfield, alongside Jeff Larentowicz in the deep-lying central midfield axis.
  • “I think that Danny’s been playing well. We needed to obviously match them in the midfield, and I think that Danny has the ability not only to be good with the ball, but I think we needed to be in possession with them because they apply pressure,” said Klopas. “I think he brings those kinds of qualities and now has the technical ability to not only push forward, but to play quick out of the back.”
  • Midfielder Joel Lindpere saw his consecutive start streak ended at 91 games when he went to the substitutes’ bench for Saturday’s scoreless draw at Sporting KC. Lindpere joined the Fire from New York over the offseason.
  • Already injury-hit on the backline, the Fire were forced into a late change when Michael Videira suffered a blow to the head and had to come off, replaced by Wells Thompson.
  • “It's tough, because we're thin in the back,” Gonzalo Segares said. “Having another guy get hurt, it definitely is tough, especially at that point in the game. To have a guy who didn't have much time to warm up, it's always tough. I think Wells [Thompson] came in and did an excellent job.”
  • The Fire were missing Steven Kinney, after he suffered a thigh injury late in the New England match, and Logan Pause was also out after suffering an injury in the lead-up to the LA Galaxy contest. Arne Friedrich is also unavailable to injury.
  • “I think when you miss guys like Arne, who is a veteran leading the back line, you do get things like that. Because we played Jalil [Anibaba] now out wide right and Mike Videira came in as a right back, so the opportunities that present themselves in a game where you can push up and squeeze and stay compact, and I think we did it,” said Klopas.
  • With Sean Johnson called into the U.S. national team for the weekend World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica, Paolo Tornaghi is expected to deputize between the posts.
  • Sean is coming up in the U.S. system and doing well. I have to understand in my position – you don’t have a lot of minutes to play so I think it’s important in every training to remind yourself in any minute that you could be called onto the field. I’m always ready to step in,” said Tornaghi. 

CHIVAS USA
Chivas USA came for a result for a second consecutive match, getting a late equalizer for a 1-1 draw against the LA Galaxy in the first SuperClásico of the year at The Home Depot Center.

LAST MATCH

  • Chivas went a man down late in the first half under strange circumstances when Joaquin Velázquez was sent off, referee Ricardo Salazar first showing a yellow card, then the red, following a challenge on Galaxy winger Colin Clark.
  • The Galaxy finally took advantage in the 83rd minute when Jack McBean got his head to a deflected ball from Mike Magee from close range, as goalkeeper Dan Kennedy got a hand to the ball but couldn't keep it out.
  • But Chivas were able to snatch a share of the points when Carlos Álvarez tapped home a low cross through the box from Carlos Borja in the 89th minute for the leveler.
  • Chivas head coach Jose Luis Sánchez Sola made four changes to the team that came back for a 3-1 win against FC Dallas at The Home Depot Center. Eric Avila and Josue Soto came into wide positions and - Jose Correa and Julio Morales started up top, replacing Walter Vilchez, Miller Bolanos, Laurent Courtois and Tristan Bowen.
  • CHIVAS USA (3-4-3): Dan Kennedy - Bobby Burling, Mario de Luna, Joaquin Velazquez (sent off 40) - Eric Avila, Oswaldo Minda (Marvin Iraheta 18), Edgar Mejia, Josue Soto - Jose Correa (Carlos Alvarez 46), Juan Agudelo, Julio Morales (Carlos Borja 46).

TEAM NEWS

  • For a second consecutive week, Chivas USA overcame a late deficit to snatch a result. A season ago, Chivas were 1-16-4 when conceding first.
  • “A lot of people probably thought that game was over once Galaxy scored. I was really proud of us last week when we came back from a goal down to score three and get a victory,” said goalkeeper Dan Kennedy. “This week I have that same exact feeling. We had everything against us, we were playing with 10 men against the two-time defending champs, and we showed that we could still get on the board and make this match competitive.”
  • After losing each match in the season series a year ago, and dropping eight of the last nine meetings with their follow Home Depot Center denizens, the late goal was especially pleasing for Chivas USA.
  • “On the field, we won a point, but off the field we won 100 points in respect. At this point, when we talk about respect, we are a team that deserves to be champion,” said Chivas head coach Jose Luis Sánchez Sola. “Our rival is one of the best in the league; they have my admiration and respect for what they do. As for my players, as usual, they kept on fighting, made a great effort, and I would like for everybody to respect that effort. I would like for this institution to be respected as well, that is the way it should be. This institution deserves respect.”
  • Carlos Alvarez, the No. 2 overall selection in this year’s SuperDraft, scored his first professional goal, the dramatic equalizer to leave the SuperClásico in a draw.
  • “Alvarez was a great college soccer player but the MLS level is different and he’s adjusting to it. He keeps on making the effort day in and day out, but please, let’s talk about Alvarez, the human being, the young guy with big charisma, the guy who today, making his debut in the league, scored his first goal and nonetheless against the Galaxy,” said Sanchez Sola. “Alvarez, the individual who grew up loving this institution, in this city, and as I said, he scored in front of his family, friends, and followers.”
  • Said Alvarez: “I’ve dreamed that one day I would score a goal as a professional. It happened, but, in the end, it’s all about the team. It was a team effort; I was just fortunate enough to be the goalscorer.”
  • On Wednesday, Chivas USA and sister club Chivas de Guadalajara played to a 3-3 draw in Ciudad Júarez. The Mexican side took a 2-0 lead before Luis Morales (21), Giovani Casillas (38) and Jose Correa (56 pen) put the MLS side into the lead, but a late penalty leveled the score for the final result.
  • Here’s the Chivas USA team: Tim Melia (Patrick McLain 46), Marco Delgado (Carlos Alvarez 46), Marvin Iraheta, Steven Purdy-Ramos, Carlos Borja, Laurent Courtois (Jorge Villafana 26), Jose Manuel Rivera (Eric Avila 46), Daniel Antunez, Giovani Casillas (Josue Soto 46), Julio Morales, Miller Bolaños (Jose Correa 46)