MLS Match Preview: Chivas USA vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

CHIVAS USA vs VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
THE HOME DEPOT CENTER, Carson, Calif.
March 30, 2013 (WEEK 5, MLS Game #42)
7:30 p.m. PT (SNET One; City TV) 

Undefeated in three games in impressive fashion, Chivas USA face a real test when they play host to Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday evening at The Home Depot Center. Chivas are coming off their second victory of the season, a 4-1 thrashing of the Chicago Fire in their first game away from Carson this season. Whitecaps FC saw their season-opening two-game winning run come to an end last time out, dropping a 2-1 decision at the Houston Dynamo.

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REFEREE: Ismail Elfath. SAR (bench): Frank Anderson; JAR (opposite): Mike Rottersman; 4th: Baldomero Toledo MLS Career: 9 games; FC/gm: 23.9; Y/gm: 2.3; R: 4; pens: 6 
DISABLED LIST: none
SUSPENDED: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none 

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (6 meetings): Chivas USA 0 wins, 1 goal … Whitecaps FC 2 wins, 6 goals … Ties 3
AT CHIVAS USA (3 meetings): Chivas USA 0 wins, 1 goal … Whitecaps FC 1 win, 2 goals … Ties 2 
LAST YEAR (MLS):

3/17: CHV 0, VAN 1 (DeMerit 68)
7/7: CHV 0, VAN 0 10/3: VAN 4, CHV 0 (Koffie 11; Richards 35; Camilo 62; Robson 73)

  • Whitecaps FC have never lost to Chivas USA in their short MLS history. Vancouver has won three of the five matches – including two games a year ago – with a pair of draws. 
  • Whitecaps FC have not conceded a goal to Chivas USA in 304 minutes. They have kept a clean sheet in four of their five all-time games against the rojiblancos.
  • Coaches record: Martin Rennie vs. CHV: P3 W2 L0 D1 … José Luis Sánchez Solá v VAN: first game 

CHIVAS USA
Chivas USA extended their undefeated streak to three games with a win in their first match away from The Home Depot Center this season, rolling to a 4-1 win against the Chicago Fire on Sunday afternoon at Toyota Park. Chivas USA sit in a tie for second place in the Western Conference with 7 points from 4 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • Chivas USA opened the scoring for the first time this season in the 57th minute when Edgar Mejía collected a perfect layoff from Juan Agudelo outside the box and drilled a rocket past Fire goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi.
  • Patrick Nyarko leveled the score seven minutes later, Chicago’s first goal of the season, when Sherjill MacDonald found him wide open on right side of the box following a tic-tac-toe move at the top of the box, and he calmly slotted home the equalizer.
  • But the visitors retook the lead in the 73rd minute. A quick Chivas counter led to a free kick 25 yards out, and Mejía found Joaquín Velázquez on the back post for a header that sailed over Tornaghi and into the side netting.
  • Two minutes later, Jorge Villafaña picked out Agudelo on the break and he curled a shot off the inside of the far post and into the goal. The Fire's fate was sealed in the 89th minute when Jalil Anibaba knocked the ball into his own net off a cross from José Correa.
  • Chivas head coach Jose Luis Sánchez Sola made three changes to the team that got a late equalizer for a 1-1 draw against the LA Galaxy. Carlos Alvarez, Marvin Iraheta and Tristan Bowen all came into the team, in place of Oswaldo Minda, Jose Correa and Julio Morales.
  • CHIVAS USA (3-5-1-1): Dan Kennedy - Mario de Luna, Joaquin Velazquez, Bobby Burling - Eric Avila, Carlos Alvarez, Marvin Iraheta (Daniel Antunez 62), Edgar Mejia, Josue Soto (Jorge Villafana 46) - Juan Agudelo - Tristan Bowen (Jose Correa 73).
     

TEAM NEWS

  • After the season-opening loss to Columbus, Chivas USA have gone three games without a loss, scoring eight goals in that stretch.
  • “They did a lot to try and score the first half and nothing. We had five opportunities, and scored on four. This is a group who has no blame of what happened, or they have all the blame of what happened. Because they shoot, because they go in, because they organize, and because they keep on shooting,” said Chivas head coach José Luis Sánchez Solá. “It has nothing to do with the great effort that these players give. We are still moving forward and have yet to take a step backwards.”
  • Chivas USA won on the road for the first time in nine matches with the victory against Chicago, their last coming last July 28.
  • “Offensively they didn’t get a sniff and then going forward, to score four goals, it’s a game changer. It makes other teams respect you and they have to be a little bit more defensive minded against us,” said goalkeeper Dan Kennedy. “So that’s important for us.”
  • All eight of Chivas USA’s goals this season have come in the second half, and the win in Chicago marked the first time they did not go down a goal – though the Fire did come back to knot the score at 1-1.
  • “We went up a goal, and then gave up a goal; sometimes when the home team gets back into the game like that they take over. We just responded with three more,” said Kennedy. “For a goalkeeper it was a really fun game. You get a chance to make some saves and the team puts four goals on the board, and it relieves a little pressure.”
  • After seeing his suspension overturned from a red card received in the LA Galaxy match, Chivas USA defender Joaquín Velázquez scored the game-winning goal vs. Chicago, his first in MLS.
  • “I'm elated,” Velázquez said. “We finished a set play we've been practicing. It was important for us to come out here and perform as a team … I don't know if we're surprising other teams, but what I do know is we're fighting. We're battling and getting better. It's a very long season, so we've got to keep this going.” 

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC saw their perfect start to the season come to an end in their first road match of the year, the Houston Dynamo coming back for a 2-1 win on Saturday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium. Whitecaps FC sit in fifth place in the Western Conference with 6 points from 3 matches.

LAST MATCH 

  • The visitors took the lead in the 36th minute. Striker Darren Mattocks took a feed from rookie Erik Hurtado and turned his marker, ripping a shot from 22 yards over Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall and into the right corner of the goal.
  • The Dynamo pulled even 10 minutes after the second-half restart. A well-worked combination play on the right flank gave Ricardo Clark room to curl a ball to the top of the six-yard box, where Giles Barnes headed it across ‘Caps goalkeeper Joe Cannon for his first MLS goal.
  • The winner came seven minutes later. Will Bruin nodded down Adam Moffat’s corner, then Warren Creavalle got the final touch to bundle it home after a scrum in front of goal.
  • Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie made one change to the team that recorded a 2-1 win against the Columbus Crew at BC Place. Erik Hurtado came into the side with Kenny Miller away on international duty.
  • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-3-2-1): Joe Cannon - Lee Young-Pyo, Brad Rusin, Andy O'Brien (Corey Hertzog 90), Alain Rochat - Nigel Reo-Coker, Jun Marques Davidson, Gershon Koffie (Kekuta Manneh 79) - Erik Hurtado (Camilo Sanvezzo 71), Daigo Kobayashi - Darren Mattocks.

TEAM NEWS

  • For a second consecutive year, Whitecaps FC saw a season-opening winning streak snapped at two games. The club record in MLS play is three consecutive wins, set last April 21-May 5.
  • “We thought we had a good chance to win and showed that throughout the game. We really believed that we could get that goal to get on the lead and we did that, but I don’t think we defended quite well enough,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie. “They have a great record here, we are certainly not the first team to come here and not win. That has been the case for a long, long time, so we are not disappointed or down about it at all. Actually we feel encouraged and positive about the next game.”
  • After going their first season in MLS without a road win (0-12-5), Whitecaps FC did win three times on the road in 2012, but still scored a league-low 10 goals on their travels. The loss in Houston was their first game away from BC Place this season.
  • “It’s a long season and there are a lot of games on the road. This is a hard place to come to,” said Rennie. “I thought Houston played well and this was an exciting game for everybody here tonight and I feel very encouraged of where we can get to on the road.”
  • Darren Mattocks scored his first goal of the season for Whitecaps FC, a stunning long-range strike in the 2-1 loss in Houston. Of the eight goals the 2012 No. 2 overall draft pick has scored in his MLS career, six have come away from Vancouver.
  • “There are simple things that could have made life easier for us tonight. We hit both posts off one shot and that was a key moment as well. We probably had four clear chances and tonight we only took one of them,” said Rennie. “We do need to take our chances, we played well at times and we weathered the storm for most of it.”
  • But an equally large talking point was a Mattocks shot that was saved by Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall just seconds before Houston scored their equalizer.
  • “We were one-nil up and that was a significant moment in the game. Then we had to weather another storm and we lost a couple runners in the box so that was disappointing because that is stuff that we can improve on and stuff that we can prevent,” said Rennie.
  • “I said to Darren after the game, ‘With the level we’re at now, those are the small margins that we can’t let pass us by,’” Nigel Reo-Coker said on the TEAM 1410 radio broadcast. “We take our second chance, the game’s 2-0. It would have been very difficult for them to come back being 2-0 down at home with the [32-game home unbeaten streak] they had. That’s the difference between being playing a higher level of football and a lower level of football. You take your chances. You might only get one chance away from home and you must learn to take that one chance that you may get.”
  • Making his first MLS start with Kenny Miller away with Scotland’s national team, Erik Hurtado recorded an assist on the Vancouver goal.