Preview: Fire, Chivas USA both eager to break tough spell
A pair of teams looking to return to winning ways meet on Saturday at The Home Depot Center when Chivas USA plays host to the Chicago Fire. Chivas are looking to put the brakes on a three-game losing skid, extended last weekend in a 3-2 loss at Philadelphia Union. The Fire have played to three consecutive ties – the last two at their Toyota Park home – after a 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls last weekend.
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REFEREE: Andrew Chapin. SAR (bench): Greg Barkey; JAR (opposite): Jeff Hosking; 4th: Ricardo Salazar
MLS Career: 32 games; FC/gm: 27.2; Y/gm: 4.6; R: 9; pens: 4
INJURY REPORT: CHIVAS USA – DOUBTFUL: DF Jimmy Conrad (concussion); PROBABLE: FW Marcos Mondaini (L knee sprain); FW Victor Estupiñán (R knee sprain) …
CHICAGO FIRE – OUT: MF Mike Banner (L Achilles tendinitis); DF Steven Kinney (R Achilles tendinitis); MF Marko Maric (L deltoid sprain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: CHV: Alejandro Moreno (Venezuela)
SUSPENDED: CHI: Daniel Paladini (caution accumulation; through July 4)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: CHV: Zarek Valentin … CHI: Cory Gibbs, Dominic Oduro, Gonzalo Segares
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CHV: Nick LaBrocca … CHI: Diego Chaves
ALL-TIME (12 meetings): Chivas USA 4 wins, 13 goals … Fire 6 wins, 18 goals … Ties 2
AT CHIVAS USA (6 meetings): Chivas USA 2 wins, 7 goals … Fire 3 wins, 9 goals … Ties 1
RETURN MATCH: 9/17: Chicago Fire vs. Chivas USA, 4 p.m. (TeleFutura)
LAST YEAR (MLS):
5/1: CHI 1, CHV 1 (Husidic 52 – Maicon Santos 76)
10/23: CHV 1, CHI 4 (Maldonado 57 – McBride 40; Ljungberg 47; Carr 68; Husidic 90)
• Chivas USA have not defeated the Chicago Fire since a 2-0 win, June 19, 2008 at The Home Depot Center. The Fire have won five of the six meetings in all competitions since, with one draw.
• The teams also met in SuperLiga a year ago, the Fire taking a 1-0 win at Toyota Park in Group A play.
• Coaches record: Robin Fraser v CHI: first game … Frank Klopas vs. CHV: first game
Chivas USA saw their losing skid reach three games, falling 3-2 to Philadelphia Union on Saturday afternoon at PPL Park. Chivas USA have 17 points from 15 games on the season, in eighth place in the Western Conference.
• Chivas USA took the lead in the 28th minute after Union ’keeper Faryd Mondragón punched away a corner kick. Chivas strung together three headers from Nick LaBrocca and Ben Zemanski before defender Michael Umana capped the sequence.
• Union tied the game early in the second half. Veljko Paunovic calmly controlled a cross from Justin Mapp and buried it past Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy in the 48th minute.
• Philadelphia then took the lead in the 69th minute. After receiving a beautiful long ball from Paunovic, Carlos Ruiz successfully shielded a defender while dribbling to his right before firing it through Kennedy’s legs.
• Yet Chivas found an unlikely equalizer from Justin Braun, who ran onto a brilliant through ball from Jorge Flores and beat a late-arriving Mondragón in the 77th minute.
• But the home side responded five minutes later as Danny Mwanga collected a pass well out from goal and turned and fired, beating Kennedy for the match-winner.
• Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser made two changes to the team that fell 2-1 to FC Dallas at The Home Depot Center. Ante Jazic came in for Michael Lahoud in the back and Ben Zemanski replaced Simon Elliott in midfield.
• CHIVAS USA (4-1-3-2): Dan Kennedy - Zarek Valentin, Michael Umana (Andrew Boyens 46), Heath Pearce, Ante Jazic - Paulo Nagamura - Ben Zemanski (Blair Gavin 76), Nick LaBrocca, Jorge Flores - Justin Braun, Marcos Mondaini (Chris Cortez 71).
• The loss was the third in a row for Chivas USA, their longest losing slide of the season. They’ve allowed seven goals in the three losses.
• “The biggest area of improvement for us is we’ve got to stop shooting ourselves in the foot,” Chivas head coach head coach Robin Fraser said. “We’ve done it game in and game out. We’re giving up way too many leads and either tying or losing games that I think we should win.”
• For the second time in three games, Chivas USA was staked to an early lead when Michael Umaña scored his first career MLS goal.
• “The past couple games we’ve given up a couple of leads,” defender Zarek Valentin said. “And obviously if you look at that, if we keep [the opponents] at zero for the rest of the game, we pull out some wins and our spot in the table is a lot different.”
• Justin Braun scored his first goal since hitting for a hat trick against New York on May 15.
• “I saw (my teammate) get the ball and I just tried to make a good run,” Braun said. “He played it well for me. He put it right where it needed to be and I was able to get on the end of it and kind of put it over the ‘keeper to get the goal. In the end, it’s not enough.”
• After missing four games through international duty, Andrew Boyens returned to the team, playing the second half after coming on for Umaña and restoring what had been Chivas USA’s first-choice back four.
• “It’s never good. If it’s a wide-open game, then somebody is not organized enough defensively,” Fraser said. “Certainly that’s not optimal and I think we weren’t quite as good as we needed to be and as a result the game got wide open.”
The Chicago Fire played to an MLS-record sixth consecutive home draw, a 1-1 tie with the New York Red Bulls on Sunday afternoon at Toyota Park. The Fire have 17 points from 17 matches on the year, sitting in a tie for sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
• The Red Bulls took the lead with an opportunistic goal five minutes before the halftime whistle. Yamith Cuesta couldn't clear at the top of the 18, hitting the ball right in the path of Joel Lindpere, who collected and calmly slotted his shot past an onrushing Sean Johnson.
• But Marco Pappa equalized for the home side in the 58th minute on a speculative shot from 30 yards, bouncing a left-footed effort toward the far post. New York goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul got to the ball in plenty of time, but missed on his attempted parry and the ball trickled into the net.
• Fire interim head coach Frank Klopas made one change to the team that played to a scoreless result with Real Salt Lake at Toyota Park. Marco Pappa came back into the team for Diego Chaves.
• CHICAGO FIRE (4-4-2): Sean Johnson - Jalil Anibaba, Cory Gibbs, Yamith Cuesta, Gonzalo Segares - Marco Pappa (Gabriel Ferrari 82), Daniel Paladini, Baggio Husidic (Corben Bone 69), Patrick Nyarko - Dominic Oduro, Orr Barouch (Diego Chaves 58).
• The Fire played to a sixth consecutive tie at Toyota Park with the result with New York – an MLS record for consecutive home draws. The Fire have played to 11 ties already this season; the MLS single-season record is 14, set last season by FC Dallas.
• “It always comes up: ‘How many ties do you guys have?’ We’re trying to deal with it the proper way, it’s not like we want to tie, but unfortunately sometimes that happens and we just happen to have a lot of them,” Fire midfielder Baggio Husidic said
• Marco Pappa had missed four games while on CONCACAF Gold Cup duty with Guatemala, then came on for the final 20 minutes at midweek against Real Salt Lake before making his first start since May 28.
• “You could see that later in the game he was getting tired. The Gold Cup is a difficult tournament because of the travel. He played four games in less than four days then he came back,” Fire interim coach Frank Klopas said. “Pappa is a player that sometimes he tries things and they don’t happen. But, then there are the times when he can make some magic.”
• It was the fifth goal of the season for Pappa, leading the Fire, his second from outside the penalty area. “He’s always going to be in situations where he create chances and score. He likes putting himself around the goal and he always gets chances. Some players have that ability, some don’t,” Klopas said.
• Orr Barouch was given a second consecutive start in attack, the first two of his MLS career, while Diego Chaves was put on the substitutes’ bench for just the second time this season.
• “We have a team. It’s all about looking at the guys and seeing who is ready. One thing we cannot overlook about Diego is that he missed a lot of the preseason. He came in and right away we went into games,” Klopas said. “I think from an aerobic standpoint he is not there. Late in the games he gets tired, which proves that the preseason is really crucial. He is a quality player and we just need to manage that.”
• Logan Pause missed a second consecutive game with a concussion. “We are assessing him every day, but you have to wait with injuries to see how the player reacts to the physical therapy each day. I think that if everything goes according to plan that he’ll be available for LA,” Klopas said.
• On Tuesday, the Fire advanced to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup after a 1-0 victory against the USL PRO Rochester Rhinos. The game’s lone goal was scored by Diego Chaves in the 37th minute.
• Here’s the Fire team: Sean Johnson; Bratislav Ristic, Josip Mikulic, Dasan Robinson (Jalil Anibaba 49), Pari Pantazopoulos; Gabriel Ferrari (Patrick Nyarko 46), Michael Videira, Daniel Paladini, Corben Bone (Dominic Oduro 75); Diego Chaves, Cristian Nazarit