Preview: Chivas, Seattle battle for three key points in West

CHIVAS USA vs SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
THE HOME DEPOT CENTER, Carson, Calif.
August 25, 2012 (WEEK 25, MLS Game #240)
10:30 pm ET / 7:30 pm PT (FS-W/KWHY; KING-5)

Needing points if they are to make a late charge up the Western Conference table, Chivas USA play host to Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday evening at The Home Depot Center. Chivas enter the match 10 points out of the final playoff spot following their 1-1 draw at Colorado last weekend, but have a handful of games in hand over the rest of the division. Sounders FC stretched their home winning streak with a 2-0 win against Vancouver, sitting in third place in the West.

REFEREE: Jose Carlos Rivero. AR1 (bench): Ian Anderson; AR2 (opposite): Fabio Tovar; 4th: Baldomero Toledo
MLS Career: 4 games; FC/gm: 24.3; Y/gm: 4.5; R: 3; pens: 2

DOWNLOAD FULL GAME GUIDE HERE (PDF)

INJURY REPORT:

  • CHIVAS USA – OUT: MF Marvin Iraheta (L knee ACL); QUESTIONABLE: MF Peter Vagenas (R hamstring strain); MF Ryan Smith (R hamstring strain)
  • SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC – OUT: FW Babayele Sodade (R knee ACL tear); FW David Estrada (L foot fracture); MF Andy Rose (rib fracture)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:

  • SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: CHV: Shalrie Joseph … SEA: Eddie Johnson
  • SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CHV: Oswaldo Minda, Ryan Smith … SEA: Fredy Montero, Andy Rose, Zach Scott, Marc Burch

HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME (8 meetings): Chivas USA 2 wins, 6 goals … Sounders FC 2 wins, 6 goals … Ties 4
AT CHIVAS USA (5 meetings): Chivas USA 2 wins, 5 goals … Sounders FC 1 win, 4 goals … Ties 2
FUTURE MATCH: 9/8: Seattle Sounders FC vs. Chivas USA, 1 p.m. PT
• The teams are meeting for the second time this season. A Juan Agudelo goal for Chivas USA was answered by a goal from Seattle’s David Estrada as they reached a 1-1 draw, May 26 at The Home Depot Center.
• Sounders FC are unbeaten in their last six meetings with Chivas USA, since Chivas won the first two meetings ever between the clubs in 2009. Seattle has won twice with four draws.
• Coaches record: Robin Fraser vs. SEA: P3 W0 L1 D2 … Sigi Schmid vs. CHV: P14 W3 L5 D6

LAST MEETING (MLS):
5/26: CHV 1, SEA 1 (Agudelo 57 – Estrada 61)
• Chivas USA took the lead in the 57th minute. Fullback James Riley whipped in a cross and Juan Agudelo leapt over Seattle defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado to head home his first goal for the club.
• But Seattle equalized just four minutes later. Alex Caskey fired a bounding ball down the left flank that caused center back John Valencia to whiff, leaving David Estrada all the time in the world to beat goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.
• CHIVAS USA (4-4-2): Dan Kennedy - James Riley, John Valencia (Rauwshan McKenzie 66), Danny Califf, Ante Jazic - Laurent Courtois, Peter Vagenas, Alejandro Moreno, Ryan Smith (Cesar Romero 88) - Jose Correa (Blair Gavin 76), Juan Agudelo.
• SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Bryan Meredith - Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch - Mauro Rosales, Andy Rose, Brad Evans, Alvaro Fernandez (Alex Caskey 61) - Fredy Montero (Eddie Johnson 73), David Estrada (Cordell Cato 78).

CHIVAS USA
Chivas USA went back out on the road and came away with a point, getting a late goal for a 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids on Saturday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Chivas USA are in seventh place in the Western Conference with 27 points from 22 games.

LAST MATCH

HIGHLIGHTS: COL 1, CHV 1

• The Rapids opened the scoring in the 19th minute off a mistake by the visitors. Brian Mullan picked Shalrie Joseph’s pocket inside the area and unleashed a rocket past Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy for the early lead.
• Seven minutes from time, Chivas USA made the hosts pay. Second-half substitute Tristan Bowen crossed into the path of Colorado goalkeeper Pickens, but the veteran ‘keeper could only get an outstretched hand on the ball, and it deflected directly into the path of Juan Pablo Ángel for an easy tap-in.
• Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser made four changes to the team that fell 4-0 to the LA Galaxy at The Home Depot Center. Jorge Villafana came in at left back for Ante Jazic, Oswaldo Minda and Casey Townsend started in midfield for Miller Bolanos and Nick LaBrocca, and Alejandro Moreno started up top in place of Juan Pablo Angel.
• CHIVAS USA (4-2-3-1): Dan Kennedy - James Riley, John Valencia, Danny Califf, Jorge Villafana - Shalrie Joseph, Oswaldo Minda - Casey Townsend, Ben Zemanski (Laurent Courtois 76), Juan Agudelo (Juan Pablo Angel 72) - Alejandro Moreno (Tristan Bowen 61).

TEAM NEWS
• Chivas USA are still 10 points out of fifth place in the Western Conference and the final available playoff spot, but they have played at least four fewer games than the three clubs ahead of them in the table.
• “We know where we are and we know what we need to do and we’ll take the point, but certainly our realization is we have to start winning more games,” said Chivas head coach Robin Fraser. “In our situation, we look at every game now as a game where we want to get three points. We would have loved to have gotten more, but certainly, given the way the game went, we’ll take the point and move on.”
• Juan Pablo Angel scored his fourth goal of the season, his first since June 20. It was his second consecutive goal after coming off the substitutes’ bench.

WATCH: Chivas USA preview Seattle

• Tristan Bowen made his season debut, coming on for the final half-hour. He recorded his first assist, serving the cross for Ángel to nod home.
• “Once again, [Bowen] was able to put himself into a dangerous spot and he put a great ball in and, obviously, Juan knows where to be in front of the goal,” Fraser said. “That was the result of really starting to get on the front foot and starting to impose ourselves a little bit.”
• Oswaldo Minda made his return to the starting lineup, his first since June 23, after recovering from a shoulder injury.
• “I thought that once we were able to get through the midfield, and really start to get behind them, I thought the game changed a bit for us at the point. I think some of the guys came in and gave us a lift,” said Fraser.
• Casey Townsend made his first start since April 1, his last of three consecutive starts over the first four games of the season. He had made six appearances as a substitute in between.
• “We’re still working on offensive schemes, things we need to do,” said Bowen. “We had a tough time possessing out of the back today so it was a bit tough to find ourselves in the offensive third. Once we did, I think it shows that soccer is a game where you only need one opportunity, and we put it in the back of the net when we got it.”
• Alejandro Moreno also made his first start in four matches. “When we were able to get the ball forward, it was somewhat as we expected – Alejandro winning balls and Casey making some good runs,” Fraser said. “Early on, the play of the entire team could have been better, but they kept plugging away at it and it got better as the game wore on.”
• Jorge Villafana made his first start since July 7, coming in at left back for Ante Jazic. It was his first start this season as a fullback.

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
Seattle Sounders FC won for a third time in four games, defeating Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2-0 on Saturday afternoon at CenturyLink Field. Sounders FC are in third place in the Western Conference with 40 points from 24 games.
LAST MATCH

HIGHLIGHTS: SEA 2, VAN 0

• Sounders FC took the lead midway through the second half. Fredy Montero entered the game in the 61st minute and had an almost immediate impact, scoring the opener just three minutes later. A Mauro Rosales free kick was chested down by Jeff Parke and Montero collected the layoff near the far post, slotting the ball between a pair of defenders.
• Eddie Johnson then put the game away with a goal in the 87th minute. A precise ball over the top from Osvaldo Alonso to Brad Evans started the move, and Evans hit a perfectly placed square pass for Johnson to tap home inside the the far post.
• Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made four changes to the team that went down to a 2-1 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium. Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Leo Gonzalez came into the back four for Zach Scott and Marc Burch, and Mauro Rosales and Eddie Johnson started in place of Andy Rose and Sammy Ochoa.
• SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-1-1): Michael Gspurning - Adam Johansson (Zach Scott 79), Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez - Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, Christian Tiffert, Alex Caskey (Fredy Montero 61) - Mauro Rosales (Andy Rose 88) - Eddie Johnson.

TEAM NEWS
• It was a third consecutive home win for Sounders FC. They have won four of their last six matches, since going eight games without a victory.
• Fredy Montero scored for a third consecutive game and Eddie Johnson scored his third goal in the last four games as each hit the back of the net vs. Vancouver.
• “I always get a special joy when we win a game and we get a Fredy Montero and an Eddie Johnson goal,” Schmid said. “I think it substantiates what we’re trying to do with those two guys. When you start adding it up now, they are among the three or four best combinations in the league in terms of goal production.”

WATCH: Sounders break down match vs. Chivas

• Montero and Johnson have each scored four goals over the past six games; the pair has combined for 19 goals this season.
• “We are not worried about who is the best striking pair in the league. Every striker, every team, every pair has their own style of play. Fredy and I have a style of play that is a lot different from other teams in the league,” said Johnson. “At the end of the day it is about us. Fredy is competitive. I'm competitive. I think he's trying to be the leading goal scorer. That's one of my goals, too. So if we're both trying to be leading goal scorers it's going to get more goals from both of us so it's good for the team.”
• Five of Montero’s seven goals this season have come when he has come on as a substitute. In 237 career minutes off the bench, Montero now has six goals and two assists.
• “He can work over 90 minutes, that’s not an issue,” Schmid said. “He’s obviously focused and wants to win, so he’s chomping at the bit when he comes in. It would be no different if we brought Johnson or Rosales off the bench. Those guys have lots of pride.
• The game attracted a crowd of 55,718, the second-largest in MLS this season. In three games where Sounders FC have drawn a bigger crowd to CenturyLink Field than the listed MLS capacity, the team is 3-0-0, outscoring their opponents 8-1.
• “It's a tremendous reflection of what Seattle is doing. I told Adrian [Hanauer, Sounders GM] if he keeps getting more than 50,000 we'll keep winning because every league game over 50,000 we've won,” said Schmid. “So we don't mind if in the next game they want to open up some more seats and get another 55,000 in there.”
• Said Sounders goalkeeper Michael Gspurning: “Maybe we have to think about opening up the upper level every game. It's always amazing in front of this crowd. Before the game, if you walk through the tunnel, [and hear] the clap-clap, you get goose bumps. It's amazing.”
• Mauro Rosales returned to the lineup after coming off the substitutes’ bench against San Jose, fitting into central midfield with Christian Tiffert, who was making his second consecutive MLS start.
• “I’ve talked about it for a long time, it’s a blessing and a curse,” Brad Evans said, who again played a wide role. “You’d like to have one role, but they want more creativity from the central midfield role. Fair enough, that’s fine and hopefully I can find myself plugged in.”
• Said Schmid: "His versatility helps us, and we play enough games where people are going to get on the field and people are going to play. But right now with new players coming in, you still have to find – and it will take some time – the right mix and to see how it mixes together the right way. Today, the mix worked.”