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Preview: Chivas USA, Houston look for boost at HDC

THE HOME DEPOT CENTER, Carson, Calif.
10:30 p.m. ET (FS-W; KHOU/FS-H+/Azteca)
July 23, 2011 (WEEK 19; MLS Game 191)

Chivas USA will look to turn the tables on the Houston Dynamo on their home ground when the clubs meet Saturday at The Home Depot Center. Chivas USA are winless in their last four games, after a scoreless draw at home with New York last weekend. The Dynamo are unbeaten in four, after a 1-1 draw with Sporting KC last Saturday. The Dynamo continued their unbeaten record at Houston vs. Chivas, with a 2-1 win in the first meeting in June.

DOWNLOAD FULL GAME GUIDE (PDF)

REFEREE: Abbey Okulaja. SAR (bench): Ian Anderson; JAR (opposite): Jason Cullum; 4th: Alejandro Mariscal
MLS Career: 110 games; FC/gm: 27.0; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 18; pens: 25

INJURY REPORT: CHIVAS USA – DOUBTFUL: DF Jimmy Conrad (concussion); MF Ben Zemanski (L ankle) … HOUSTON DYNAMO – OUT: DF Jermaine Taylor (concussion); DOUBTFUL: FW Calen Carr (concussion)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: CHV: Alejandro Moreno (Venezuela)
SUSPENDED: HOU: Colin Clark (through July 23); Brian Ching (through July 23)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CHV: Justin Braun, Nick LaBrocca, Michael Lahoud, Zarek Valentin, Ben Zemanski … HOU: Danny Cruz, Brad Davis

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (15 meetings): Chivas USA 1 win, 9 goals … Dynamo 9 wins, 27 goals … Ties 5
AT CHIVAS USA (6 meetings): Chivas USA 1 win, 7 goals … Dynamo 2 wins, 9 goals … Ties 3

  • A Geoff Cameron strike and an own goal answered an early Marcos Mondaini goal as Houston continued their home dominance against Chivas USA in a 2-1 win at Robertson Stadium on June 11.
  • The Dynamo have won five games in a row against Chivas. Chivas has won only once in the all-time league series – a 3-2 win Aug. 26, 2006 at The Home Depot Center. Chivas did win one of two-game set in the Western Conference Semifinals in 2006.
  • Chivas USA scored their first goal in Houston in league play since 2006 in the first meeting. Since scoring a goal in a 3-1 loss in the club’s first game at Houston in 2006, Chivas went 719 minutes without scoring in regular season play over eight trips.
  • Chivas did finally have some success in Houston last year, winning 3-1 in a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal, and also playing to a 1-1 draw in SuperLiga.
  • Coaches' records: Dominic Kinnear vs. CHV: P19 W11 L1 D7 … Robin Fraser vs. HOU: P1 W0 L1 D0

LAST YEAR (MLS):
6/11: HOU 2, CHV 1 (Cameron 29; Pearce 55 og – Mondaini 7)

  • Chivas scored after just seven minutes. Marcos Mondaini poached a botched Hunter Freeman back pass and pushed the ball around an on-rushing Tally Hall, slotting home from a tight angle.
  • Geoff Cameron scored the equalizer in the 29th minute, heading home from the penalty spot on a Brad Davis free kick swung in from out on the right touchline.
  • The winner came in the 55th minute. A Davis corner kick was knocked back out from the goalmouth by Michael Lahoud, but the ball ricocheted off Heath Pearce’s leg and back past Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.
  • Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made two changes to the team that lost 2-0 to the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium. Eddie Robinson and Corey Ashe came into the team for Mike Chabala - and Danny Cruz.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tally Hall - Hunter Freeman, Eddie Robinson (Danny Cruz 56), Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe - Colin Clark (Mike Chabala 83), Lovel Palmer, Geoff Cameron, Brad Davis - Will Bruin, Cam Weaver (Brian Ching 70).
  • CHIVAS USA (4-1-3-2): Dan Kennedy - Michael Lahoud, Heath Pearce, Michael Umana, Ante Jazic - Paulo Nagamura - Ben Zemanski (Blair Gavin 77), Nick LaBrocca, Jorge Flores (Simon Elliott 46) - Marcos Mondaini (Justin Braun 61), Alejandro Moreno.

CHIVAS USA

Chivas USA extended their winless streak to four games, playing to a scoreless draw with the New York Red Bulls on Saturday evening at The Home Depot Center. Chivas USA have 23 points from 20 games on the season, in a tie for sixth place in the Western Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • Both teams hit the woodwork in the opening 45 minutes. Red Bulls fullback Jan Gunnar Solli saw a long-range effort come off the bar after a half-hour, then Jorge Flores hit the bar eight minutes later.
  • Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy made four saves to preserve the clean sheet. Making his MLS debut, Red Bulls goalkeeper Frank Rost was not called upon to make a single save.
  • Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser made two changes to the team that played to a 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City at Livestrong Sporting Park. Victor Estupinan came back into the team for Marcos Mondaini and Jorge Flores replaced Blair Gavin in the midfield.
  • CHIVAS USA (4-1-3-2): Dan Kennedy - Michael Lahoud (Mariano Trujillo 39), Michael Umana, Heath Pearce, Zarek Valentin - Simon Elliott - Ben Zemanski, Nick LaBrocca, Jorge Flores (Blair Gavin 79) - Justin Braun, Victor Estupinan (Chris Cortez 68).

TEAM NEWS

  • Chivas USA are unbeaten in four games after their scoreless draw with New York over the weekend, but three of the results have been draws. They’ve won just once in the last seven games.
  • "I thought for most of the first half we didn't play with any confidence," Chivas head coach Robin Fraser said. "Overall for us we weren't as sharp in the final third as we wanted to be."
  • Goalkeeper Dan Kennedy backstopped a shutout for the second time in three games. “[Kennedy] was very good again, his confidence continues to grow week after week, he continues to make such crucial plays for us,” said Fraser. “The fact of the matter is that we want to play so well that our goalkeeper isn’t the first player that we talk about, but having said that he has been very good and very solid.”
  • Said Kennedy: “I’ve finally got a good run of games and I feel like I’m seeing the game well. I think that me and the defenders are gelling. We’re on the same page and when I can read what my defenders are going to do then it’s easier for me to cut down angles and make plays.”
  • Chivas USA ended the Red Bulls without a single shot on goal. Of their 24 goals this season, eight have been scored from set pieces – but none since June 25.
  • “We had enough corner kicks to score today,” said defender Heath Pearce to ESPNLosAngeles.com. “We had some dangerous free kicks, set pieces that guys got to finish. Balls are dropping in the box, balls are getting [sent in at a] low height, and we're not aggressive enough to put them away. If you don't take set pieces serious, you'll never be a serious team. A lot of teams live and die by set pieces, and that's something we need to be able to get something out of. We've been too soft on set pieces this year, attacking-wise, and I don't think we're getting enough out of it. I think we just kind of go through the motions -- dangerous balls are being put in, and guys got to be able to step up and put them away.”
  • Michael Lahoud started the game at right back, but was substituted for before halftime, with Mariano Trujillo coming on. “I'm sure [Lahoud's] confidence it not at its peak,” Fraser said, “but he has so many physical attributes, so much potential. This is a blip along the way for Michael.”
  • Chivas USA will have two representatives in the MLS All-Star team, with Nick LaBrocca joining Heath Pearce in the gameday squad named by Hans Backe.
  • "He's an extremely underrated player because he hasn't been getting the respect that he deserves over the years,” said Pearce of LaBrocca. “He started out a bit slow for us when he got here, but he's been getting better every game. He's on a roll and is showing that he's a force to be reckoned with.”

HOUSTON DYNAMO
The Houston Dynamo had their unbeaten streak reach four games, but were pegged back by a late goal in a 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday evening at Robertson Stadium. The Dynamo have 24 points from 20 games on the season, sitting in fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • The Dynamo took the lead after just eight minutes. Brian Ching drew a foul some 22 yards from goal and Brad Davis curled the resulting free kick over the wall and inside Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen's left-hand post.
  • The home side went a man down in the 56th minute when Colin Clark came in with a studs-up challenge on KC center back Aurelien Collin, then 14 minutes later, Ching was sent off with a straight red card from referee Kevin Stott after kicking at Collin’s heel deep in the Sporting end.
  • Collin then made the Dynamo pay, taking a pass about 25 yards goal and hammering a hard, low shot which took a slight deflection to send Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall diving the wrong way.
  • Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear made one change to the team that eased to a 2-0 victory against Toronto FC at Robertson Stadium. Colin Clark came into the side in place of Will Bruin.
  • HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-2-3-1): Tally Hall - Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor (Bobby Boswell 46), Andre Hainault, Corey Ashe - Geoff Cameron, Je-Vaughn Watson - Danny Cruz (Hunter Freeman 79), Brad Davis (Lovel Palmer 61), Colin Clark (sent off 51) - Brian Ching (sent off 69).

TEAM NEWS

  • Despite playing a man down for the final 40 minutes, and two men down for the final 20, the Dynamo were able to hold out for a point and extend their unbeaten run.
  • “When you’re down to nine you have no one to pass the ball to. Tally [Hall] was very composed back there. He was under a lot of pressure as was the back four; well, all nine were, but the heads didn’t go down and we defended and tried to make things difficult and that’s what we did," said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear.
  • Kinnear started the match with a tactical change, putting Brian Ching as a spearhead in attack with Danny Cruz and Colin Clark playing high on the wings.
  • “We were trying to go with the three up high to match them because they are the most effective at it with their pace,” Kinnear said. “We didn’t want them to have the passing lanes and I think we did that for the first 20 minutes and then we starting knocking the ball long to Brian [Ching]. Every ball he received after that was above his head and it made it tough on him.”
  • Clark was sent off first, then Ching was shown a straight red card. Ching has started the last four games after just one start in the opening 16 league games of the season (April 2 vs. New York).
  • "I made a bad decision and we got punished for it. I cost the team two points. They did extremely well to be men, stand up, and not give up and fight till the end," Ching said.
  • Hall was officially credited with seven saves, one short of his season and career high set against New York on April 2.
  • “Tally started the season strong, but he had a mistake in the Colorado game and maybe lost a little confidence,” Ching said. “Over the past four or five games, there have been nights where he’s stood on his head for us.”
  • The Dynamo had four players selected to the MLS All-Star gameday squad by head coach Hans Backe, the most of any team – goalkeeper Tally Hall, defenders Geoff Cameron and Corey Ashe, and midfielder Brad Davis.
  • “It’s always an honor to be picked to represent MLS with other players from around the league,” said Davis. “I’m very happy for the other guys on our team who are going as well. We’ve all put in a lot of hard work, and it’s good to be recognized. Having played last year and losing 5-2, it’s a great opportunity to go back and try and get a win against Manchester United.”
  • On Wednesday, Bolton Wanderers FC defeated the Dynamo 2-0 in the annual Dynamo Charities Cup friendly at Robertson Stadium. Ivan Klasnic (32) and Kevin Davies (58) scored either side of halftime for Bolton.
  • Here’s the Dynamo team: Tyler Deric, Hunter Freeman (Kofi Sarkodie 60), Bobby Boswell, Eddie Robinson (Brad Davis 72), Andre Hainault (Corey Ashe 60, Francisco Navas Cobo 78), Alex Dixon, Je-Vaughn Watson (Josue Soto 67), Bjorn Lindemann (Danny Cruz 61), Colin Clark, Cam Weaver (Jason Garey 46), Will Bruin (Miler Castillo 61).