Preview: Union look to defend home turf against Chivas
Philadelphia Union remain at home for a second game in the week, playing host to Chivas USA on Saturday evening at PPL Park. Union played to a third draw in the last four games at midweek, a scoreless draw with Sporting Kansas City. Chivas USA head back out on the road after a second consecutive loss to a Texas club, a 2-1 home loss to FC Dallas last weekend.
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REFEREE: Jair Marrufo. SAR (bench): C.J. Morgante; JAR (opposite): Corey Rockwell; 4th: Jose Carlos Rivero
MLS Career: 114 games; FC/gm: 25.0; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 28; pens: 40
INJURY REPORT: PHILADELPHIA UNION – OUT: GK Thorne Holder (illness); QUESTIONABLE: MF Amobi Okugo (L ankle sprain); MF Gabriel Farfan (R quad strain); PROBABLE: FW Danny Mwanga (R knee contusion) …
CHIVAS USA – DOUBTFUL: DF Jimmy Conrad (concussion); PROBABLE: MF Ben Zemanski (L quad strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: CHV: Alejandro Moreno (Venezuela)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: CHV: Zarek Valentin
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: PHI: Danny Califf, Brian Carroll, Jordan Harvey, Danny Mwanga, Carlos Valdes, Sheanon Williams … CHV: Nick LaBrocca
ALL-TIME (2 meetings): Union 1 win, 4 goals … Chivas USA 0 wins, 1 goal … Ties 1
AT PHILADELPHIA (1 meeting): Union 1 win, 3 goals … Chivas USA 0 wins, 0 goals … Ties 1
RETURN MATCH: 10/2: Chivas USA vs. Philadelphia Union, 5 p.m. PT
LAST YEAR (MLS):
7/3: CHV 1, PHI 1 (Gavin 42 – Mwanga 21)
9/25: PHI 3, CHV 0 (Moreno 26; Fred 45; Le Toux 69)
• Union won the season series in their inaugural campaign, rolling to victory at PPL Park after the teams played to a draw at The Home Depot Center.
• Coaches record: Peter Nowak vs. CHV: P6 W5 L0 D1 … Robin Fraser vs. PHI: first game
Philadelphia Union returned home and maintained their unbeaten record at PPL Park, playing to a scoreless draw with Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday evening. Union have 23 points from 15 matches on the year, now in a tie for first place in the Eastern Conference.
• Union had a season-high 26 attempts at goal, and forced Sporting goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen to make seven saves on the night, including a pair of stops from close range on Jack McInerney and Carlos Ruiz midway through the first half.
• Union goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon was not credited with a single save on the night.
• Union manager Peter Nowak made two changes to the team that fell 1-0 to Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Empire Field. Jack McInerney and Carlos Ruiz came into the team, for Kyle Nakazawa and Stefani Miglioranzi.
• PHILADELPHIA UNION (4-3-1-2): Faryd Mondragon - Sheanon Williams, Carlos Valdes, Danny Califf, Jordan Harvey - Sebastien Le Toux, Brian Carroll, Justin Mapp (Roger Torres 78) - Veljko Paunovic (Amobi Okugo 66) - Jack McInerney (Keon Daniel 60), Carlos Ruiz.
• Union were shut out for a second consecutive match, the first time this season they’ve been blanked in back-to-back games.
• “We’re finding shots. We cannot ask for more, I think. It was a good 90 minutes we played. It was not minutes we had like in the RSL game where it was five minutes here, five minutes high-tempo, five minutes, ten minutes, going back and getting back to the shelf and just defend,” Nowak said. “I think today we played a good 90 minutes overall, which makes me happy after a tough weekend.”
• Once again, Nowak started the game with five out-and-out attacking options, with Sebastien Le Toux, Justin Mapp and Veljko Paunovic in the midfield.
• “I think we kind of have been tinkering around with different personnel and different lineup changes and things like that,” Califf said. “… We were able to get some good movement and some good combinations. We worked well, we just couldn’t put the finishing product down at the end.”
• After missing four games to international duty, Carlos Ruiz was given the start in attack. He was partnered by Jack McInerney, making just his second start of the season.
• “We have enough people to shuffle the deck and make sure that another will have a chance. I think Jack will progress with his development as well. He had a very good 60 minutes and we’re going to keep him working so as to get more minutes.”
• Veljko Paunovic made his second consecutive start, this time in a true attacking midfield role. Amobi Okugo was able to return from injury for a 24-minute substitute shift, coming on for Paunovic.
• “I think, as I said, we have options and those players are recognizing what we’re trying to do regarding the lineup and regarding the style of how we want to play,” Nowak said. “I think it was, for the lot of them, a very good 60-65 minutes.”
• Danny Mwanga was not even in the 18-man gameday squad, just the second league match this season he has not played in. “He got hurt in the game in Vancouver, got a couple of knocks here and there. We checked him out yesterday in training and he couldn’t strike the ball like he really liked it,” Nowak said. “There was some limitation with his movement as well.”
• It was the first defensive shutout for Union since April 30, after they had four in the first six games of the season. Their 0.80 team goals against average is still second-best in MLS.
• "As a defensive unit, it's a team effort but the four of us feel comfortable and we all know that we have each other's backs in the event something goes down," fullback Sheanon Williams said. "It's allowed for a really comfortable feeling knowing that we have that cohesion."
Chivas USA lost for a second consecutive week, this time falling 2-1 to FC Dallas on Saturday evening at The Home Depot Center. Chivas USA have 17 points from 15 games on the season, in eighth place in the Western Conference.
• The visitors struck first, in the 22nd minute. Midfielder Andrew Jacobson sent a looping ball to Brek Shea down the center of the park, and he raced away from Chivas USA defender Michael Umaña and powered in a low shot to give Dallas the lead.
• Chivas USA hit for an equalizer in the 71st minute. A corner kick was partially cleared, but only to Michael Lahoud, who fired a shot from 30 yards out that appeared to take a deflection of FC Dallas defender George John before beating Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman.
• But the game-winner in the 85th minute when a throw-in was flicked on and a Chivas defender let it bounce in the area, thinking it would carry through to goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, and instead Jackson snuck in to intercept the ball and tap it home from close range.
• Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser made three changes to the team that fell 2-1 to the Houston Dynamo at Robertson Stadium. Zarek Valentin came in for Ante Jazic in the back, Simon Elliott replaced Ben Zemanski in midfield and Justin Braun started up top for Alejandro Moreno.
• CHIVAS USA--Dan Kennedy - Michael Lahoud, Michael Umana, Heath Pearce, Zarek Valentin - Simon Elliott - Paulo Nagamura (Ben Zemanski 57), Nick LaBrocca, Jorge Flores - Justin Braun (Tristan Bowen 64), Marcos Mondaini (Chris Cortez 70).
• After the back-to-back losses to the two Texas clubs, Chivas USA have now won just once in the last six games.
• “Obviously, we’re extremely disappointed. If you look at the flow of the game, we did a pretty decent job of controlling most of the game and to make a few mistakes and let a game like that slip away with absolutely nothing to show for it is extremely disappointing,” Fraser said.
• Michael Lahoud scored his first goal of the season and the second of his MLS career, also netting in his rookie season of 2009.
• "It's an awesome feeling scoring a goal but at the end of the day it's about the team getting a result," Lahoud said. "I would much rather have us win the game more than anything."
• But Lahoud was involved in the game-winning goal, when miscommunication between he and goalkeeper Dan Kennedy allowed Jackson to nip in for the 85th-minute winner.
• "I wish I would have given him a clear shout earlier, but that's hindsight, obviously it's easy to deal with everything hindsight," Kennedy said. "It's just one of those plays that happens. Throughout a game, you can imagine how much communication goes on throughout the course of a game, and for something like that to happen and cause us a goal it's frustrating."
• Second-year Ben Zemanski was not in the starting lineup for the first time this season, though he came on as a second-half substitute.
• Simon Elliott returned to the starting lineup after missing three games while with the New Zealand national team for friendlies vs. Mexico and Australia.
• “I'm one of these people who expects a lot,” Fraser said. “I expected a lot as a player, and certainly as a coach I expect a lot, and there is a side to me that realizes there are growing pains with a young team, but I'm not going to sit here and make excuses. If it's not good enough, it's not good enough."