Preview: Playoff hopes on the line as DC host Chivas USA
D.C. UNITED vs CHIVAS USA
RFK MEMORIAL STADIUM, Washington, D.C.
7:30 p.m. ET (CSN-MA; PT; watch LIVE online)
September 21, 2011 (WEEK 28; MLS Game 264)
D.C. United return home to play Chivas USA for the second time in 11 days in a vital game for the playoff hopes of both clubs. United concluded their four-game road stretch with a 3-0 loss at Seattle Sounders FC last Saturday, now outside the top 10 overall, though they have games in hand over the rest of the league. Chivas USA went down to a fourth consecutive defeat to start their Eastern swing, falling 3-2 to a 10-man Chicago Fire last weekend.
REFEREE: Chris Penso. SAR (bench): Steven Taylor; JAR (opposite): Matthew Kreitzer; 4th: Alex Prus
MLS Career: 11 games; FC/gm: 23.5; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 4; pens: 6
INJURY REPORT: D.C. UNITED - OUT: MF Branko Boskovic (L knee ACL tear); MF Chris Pontius (R tibia fracture); DF Jed Zayner (L knee sprain); QUESTIONABLE: GK Steve Cronin (R shoulder strain); DF Dejan Jakovic (R hamstring strain); PROBABLE: GK Bill Hamid (R hamstring strain) ... CHIVAS USA - OUT: MF Paulo Nagamura (R foot); QUESTIONABLE: DF Heath Pearce (hamstring)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: DC: Austin da Luz ...CHV: Michael Lahoud, Zarek Valentin
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: DC: Charlie Davies, Dwayne De Rosario, Brandon McDonald, Ethan White ... CHV: Justin Braun, Simon Elliott, Nick LaBrocca, Ben Zemanski
ALL-TIME (13 meetings): United 7 wins, 22 goals ... Chivas USA 4 wins, 17 goals ... Ties 2
AT RFK STADIUM (6 meetings): United 4 wins, 10 goals ... Chivas USA 2 wins, 8 goals ... Ties 0
- The teams are meeting for the second time in 11 days. Chris Pontius set up all three of Charlie Davies' goals as United rolled to a 3-0 victory in the first meeting at The Home Depot Center.
- D.C. won at home vs. Chivas USA last year for the first time since 2007, Chivas winning back-to-back visits to RFK Stadium after United won the first three encounters there.
- United's win in the first meeting this year was their first vs. Chivas at The Home Depot Center in four trips, with two losses and two draws following two wins on their first two visits to Carson to play the rojiblancos.
- Coaches record: Ben Olsen v CHV: P1 W1 L0 T0 ... Robin Fraser vs. DC: P1 W0 L1 T0
LAST MEETING (MLS)
9/10: CHV 0, DC 3 (Davies 11, 15, 66)
- United took the lead after just 11 minutes. Dwayne De Rosario pounced on a loose ball in the center circle and set Chris Pontius free on the right flank. He raced downfield before driving a low ball across the face of goal that a sliding Charlie Davies hooked into the goal.
- United doubled their lead just four minutes later. A failed clearance by right back Ben Zemanski fell right onto the foot of Pontius, who sent a square ball to Davies in the area for the simplest of finishes.
- The visitors put the match out of reach in the 66th minute as Pontius and Davies combined one last time on a counter, Pontius this time freed down the left by De Rosario before sliding over a pass for Davies to thump home to complete his hat trick.
- Just seconds later, David Junior Lopes clattered in Pontius and was shown a red card, Pontius carried from the field on a stretcher.
- CHIVAS USA (4-1-3-2): Dan Kennedy - Ben Zemanski, Michael Umana, David Junior Lopes (sent off 68), Ante Jazic - Simon Elliott - Blair Gavin (Michael Lahoud 73), Nick LaBrocca, Jorge Flores (Laurent Courtois 62) - Juan Pablo Angel, Justin Braun (Alejandro Moreno 57).
- D.C. UNITED (4-1-3-2): Bill Hamid - Perry Kitchen, Ethan White, Brandon McDonald, Daniel Woolard - Clyde Simms (Stephen King 46) - Andy Najar, Santino Quaranta (Austin da Luz 62), Chris Pontius (Marc Burch 73) - Charlie Davies, Dwayne De Rosario.
D.C. United weren't able to finish their road swing with a win, falling 3-0 to Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday evening at CenturyLink Field. United have 34 points from 26 games on the year, sitting in sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
- Sounders FC opened the scoring in the 35th minute. Running onto a through ball from midfield from Mauro Rosales, Mike Fucito broke in alone on United goalkeeper Joe Willis and calmly found the left side of the net with his right foot.
- Seattle got their second goal in first-half stoppage time when Rosales found ¡lvaro Fern·ndez with a sublime pass through the center of DC's back line to finish off a nice movement, and Fernandez put his angled shot inside the left post.
- Rosales put the finishing touches on the victory in the 60th minute. A majestic cross from the right side found Montero in stride. Willis made the initial save, but Fern·ndez was there to put in the rebound from close range.
- United coach Ben Olsen made three changes to the team that strolled to a 3-0 victory against Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center. Joe Willis came in between the posts for Bill Hamid, Austin da Luz started in midfield for Santino Quaranta, and Joseph Ngwenya came into the team for Chris Pontius.
- D.C. UNITED (4-1-3-2): Joe Willis - Perry Kitchen, Ethan White (Marc Burch 78), Brandon McDonald, Daniel Woolard - Clyde Simms - Andy Najar, Dwayne De Rosario (Josh Wolff 62), Austin da Luz - Charlie Davies (Stephen King 54), Joseph Ngwenya.
- With the loss, United fell two points out of the final wild card position. But with 26 games played, they have at least two games in hand over the rest of the contenders - and in some cases three or four.
- "Throughout a season, you're going to have some games like this where a team makes a couple mistakes and you get punished," United head coach Ben Olsen said. "Again, we are in no position to sit and dwell on things and I think they know that, that there's games coming up that are very important."
- United will be looking to play their first game at RFK Stadium since Aug. 13. In four consecutive road games (forced in part by Hurricane Irene), United went 1-1-2.
- "Hopefully when we go back home now we'll have the fans on our side," said De Rosario. "We'll be mentally ready against a team where we should get three points, but I think what we learned (in Seattle) is that when it's coming down to crunch time, any mistake you can get punished. We've got to limit our mistakes and keep our chances going forward."
- With Santino Quaranta held out after five consecutive appearances and four starts in that time, De Rosario moved into a central midfield role behind the front two. But he came off after an hour.
- "Yeah, we've got a lot of games. Dwayne [De Rosario] looked like he was hobbling a little bit and we wanted to see some other guys get some action," said Olsen. "I think that's one positive out of this is that [Josh] Wolff came on and looked very sharp. It's been a while for him, as far as getting game action. And we got [Marc] Burch a little time, so that's one positive."
- Josh Wolff made his first appearance since Aug. 21, when he started against Sporting KC. He missed the Chivas USA match with a hip flexor injury.
- Marc Burch made his fourth substitute appearance in the last five games after missing three months.
- Joseph Ngwenya also made his first start since July 16, and played the full 90 minutes. "I thought Joe was very busy tonight, as usual," Olsen said. "His running is very good. So I really felt he put in a good shift."
Chivas USA saw their losing streak stretched to four games, going down to a late 3-2 loss to the Chicago Fire on Saturday evening at Toyota Park. Chivas USA have 31 points from 29 games on the season, in seventh place in the Western Conference.
- The Fire were up by two goals after just 26 minutes. Cory Gibbs got Chicago off to a dream start with a header off a Sebasti·n Grazzini corner kick (2), then a Juan Pablo Angel headed a P·vel Pardo free kick past his own goalkeeper.
- But Chivas USA got a lifeline when Gibbs was shown a straight red card scarcely 10 minutes later, sent off by referee Jorge Gonzalez following a hard on Chivas USA's Michael Lahoud.
- Angel pulled a goal back for Chivas in the 61st minute when he powered home a shot from the top of the six-yard box. Then just two minutes later, midfielder Nick LaBrocca equalized, elegantly curling a loose ball with the outside of his left foot into the upper left corner of the goal.
- Yet the Fire found the winner five minutes from time. Patrick Nyarko collected a Diego Chaves through ball in the left side of the box and squared to Dominic Oduro for a tap-in at the far post.
- Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser made four changes to the team that fell 3-0 to D.C. United at The Home Depot Center. Michael Lahoud and Zarek Valentin came into the back four for Ben Zemanski and the suspended David Junior Lopes, and Marcos Mondaini and Alejandro Moreno returned to the side in place of Jorge Flores and Blair Gavin.
- CHIVAS USA (4-1-3-2): Dan Kennedy - Michael Lahoud (Mariano Trujillo 46), Michael Umana, Zarek Valentin, Ante Jazic - Simon Elliott (Blair Gavin 46) - Justin Braun (Laurent Courtois 65), Nick LaBrocca, Marcos Mondaini - Alejandro Moreno, Juan Pablo Angel
- Chivas USA have lost four games in a row and are riding a six-game winless streak, both their longest of the year. Juan Pablo Angel's goal for Chivas vs. Chicago last weekend snapped a 334-minute scoreless drought.
- "If we do want to get into the playoffs, if we have any hope of getting into the playoffs we really, really need to be sharper, more focused all over the field for 90 minutes," said Chivas USA coach Robin Fraser. "I thought we had moments today that were quite good but we had moments that were horrible as well. Good teams don't have horrible moments. Good teams have great moments, good moments, maybe fair moments. But good teams don't have horrible moments."
- While Chivas were able to score for the first time since the 2-2 draw with Colorado on Aug. 20, they were not able to score over the final 53-plus minutes of the Chicago match with a man advantage.
- After he moved to the substitutes' bench for the D.C. United match following five consecutive starts, Alejandro Moreno returned to the starting lineup.
- Marcos Mondaini also came back into the team after missing out completely on the United match.
- "Our intent was to get the players on the field that we felt could make a difference this particular day. Certainly we did have a number of attacking players on the field and I think at times it looked very good and it looked like a good attacking group," said Fraser. "Certainly there's always going to be risks not having more defensive players on the field but we felt like with the group we had we could sway the game in our favor."
- With two defenders out through suspension, Michael Lahoud was able to make his second start over the last seven games, since the start of August, but lasted just the opening 45 minutes. Zarek Valentin made his first start after missing the last three matches.
- Angel became the fifth player in MLS history - and the second this season - to score a goal and an own goal in the same contest. Josh Gardner did for Columbus vs. Seattle, Aug. 27.
- Angel's goal was his second in four starts since arriving at Chivas USA.
- "We have to know we are competing for our lives and we are competing for the chance to make the playoffs. We are competing for our jobs. What has happened in the last couple of weeks has not been good enough and we have to be able to look at ourselves and find a solution within the group," said Angel. "This is it. This is the group that we have, the players we have and we just have the manage the situations and be smarter in certain situations during the game."