Chivas USA vs. Chicago Fire | MLS Match Preview

CHIVAS USA vs CHICAGO FIRE
STUBHUB CENTER, Carson, Calif.
March 9, 2013 (WEEK 1, MLS Game #8)
3 pm ET/12 pm PT (UniMas)

A pair of clubs looking to make fresh starts meet to open the 2014 MLS campaign as Chivas USA play host to the Chicago Fire on Sunday afternoon at StubHub Center. Chivas USA begin the new season with new direction both off the field and on, as Wilmer Cabrera looks to get the team back to the postseason for the first time in five years. The Fire also missed out on the MLS Cup Playoffs last year, and veteran MLS head coach Frank Yallop has come in to guide the clubís fortunes from the touchline.

REFEREE: William Anderson. SAR (bench): Jair Morales; JAR (opposite): Jose da Silva; 4th: Javier Santos
MLS Career: First game.

SUSPENDED: none
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME
(16 meetings): Chivas USA 5 wins, 21 goals ... Fire 8 wins, 25 goals ... Ties 3
AT CHIVAS (8 meetings): Chivas USA 2 wins, 9 goals ... Fire 4 wins, 12 goals ... Ties 2

LAST YEAR (MLS):
3/24: CHI 1, CHV 4 (Nyarko 64 ñ Mejia 57; Velazquez 73; Agudelo 75; own goal 89)

  • This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
  • Chivas USA won the lone meeting between the teams a season ago, a 4-1 victory March 24 at Toyota Park
  • The road team has won each of the last two meetings in the all-time series, the Fire taking a 2-1 in 2012 at StubHub Center in the lone encounter between the teams that season.
  • Coaches record: Wilmer Cabrera vs. CHI: first game ... Frank Yallop vs. CHV: P20 W5 L9 D6

CHIVAS USA

The Chivas USA makeover continues in earnest in 2014 as the club looks to return to the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2009. Now under league stewardship, Chivas USA will be guided by first-year head coach Wilmer Cabrera, hired to JosÈ Luis RÈal, who oversaw the end of a second consecutive last-place finish in the Western Conference for the rojiblancos.

TEAM NEWS

  • Chivas USA concluded their undefeated run in the Desert Diamond Cup with a 1-1 draw with Real Salt Lake in their final match, ending their preseason slate with an eight-game undefeated run.
  • ï Hereís the Chivas team: Dan Kennedy, Eric Avila, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Bobby Burling, Tony Lochhead, Thomas McNamara, Oswaldo Minda (Agustin Pelletieri 59í), Trialist Midfielder #1, Trialist Midfielder #2 (Donald Toia 74'), Matthew Fondy (Adolfo Bautista 65'), Erick Torres (Luke Moore 71')
  • Erick Torres scored the Chivas USA goal, his second of the preseason. "I think [2013] was half a season of adaptation that helped me a lot,î Torres said. ìNow I have a full season where I can try to continue and perform well. I have a lot of goals and dreams, but Iím focused on March 9 to have a good start.î
  • Following the sale of the club back to MLS, Chivas USA enters the 2014 in a period of transition.
  • "We should not look or expect us to play a brand of soccer such as Barcelona, Real Madrid or some of the other great clubs in the world," Cabrera said. "What we should expect and what we will demand of our team is that they will be competitive. We will look to go to goal. We will not just sit and try to save results. We will pursue wins and in the process we hope to gain those."
  • Said new Chivas USA president Nelson Rodriguez: "We haven't made the playoffs in four years. Everything starts on the field. At the end of the day, Chivas USA is a soccer club. We need our product to be worthy of fansí attention. Wilmer has a practical approach and Iím grateful for that."
  • The club did make a couple of key acquisitions as the preseason wound down. They acquired former English Premier League striker Luke Moore, last with Turkish club Sanica Boru Elazigspor, where he was scoreless in 17 appearances.
  • "Moore is a very talented player who has proven his scoring ability at the international level by playing in one of the biggest leagues in the world," said Cabrera. "He's going to be a very important addition to our team in terms of competition, depth, and possibilities up front to create scoring opportunities and goals."
  • Chivas also signed midfielder Daniel Fragoso from Centre d'Esports L'Hospitalet, who play in Spain's Second Division-B (third tier). "Daniel is a very technical player, known for his excellent control of the ball and possession," Cabrera said. "Those strengths are going to be very important for our team as we try to have a group that knows and is able to win and move the ball."
  • The Rojiblancos also bolstered their midfield by picking up Mauro Rosales in a trade with Seattle Sounders FC, and also signing Agustin Pelletieri on a free transfer, after he played five seasons with CA Lan˙s in Argentina.

OFFSEASON TRANSACTIONS
IN: MF Mauro Rosales (12/11/13 - trade from Seattle); DF Andrew Jean-Baptiste (12/12/13 - trade from Portland); FW Adolfo Bautista (1/14/14 - free); DF Tony Lochhead (1/22/14 - free); DF Andrew Ribeiro (1/23/14 - free); DF Fejiro Okiomah (1/27/14 - free); DF Donny Toia (1/27/14 - free); MF Thomas McNamara (2/14/14 - SuperDraft); MF AgustÌn Pelletieri (2/19/14 - free); FW Luke Moore (2/24/14 - free); FW Eriq Zavaleta (2/28/14 - loan from Seattle); MF Daniel Fragoso (3/3/14 - transfer from CE L'Hospitalet)

OUT: DF Mario de Luna  (11/21/13 - end of loan from CD Guadalajara); DF Jaime Frias (11/21/13 - end of loan from CD Guadalajara); MF Edgar MejÌa (11/21/13 - end of loan from CD Guadalajara); FW Julio Morales (11/21/13 - end of loan from CD Guadalajara); GK Patrick McLain (11/21/13 - option declined); DF Steve Purdy (11/21/13 - option declined); DF Daniel Antunez (11/21/13 - option declined); MF Marvin Iraheta (11/21/13 - option declined); MF Josue Soto (11/21/13 - option declined); FW JosÈ Manuel Rivera (11/21/13 - option declined); FW Tristan Bowen (12/11/13 - traded to Seattle); DF Jorge VillafaÒa (12/12/13 - traded to Portland); MF Gabriel Farfan (2/3/14 - loaned to Chiapas); MF Carlo Chueca (2/27/14 - waived); FW Bryan de la Fuente (3/1/14 - waived)

CHICAGO FIRE

  • The Fire laid claim to the Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson, Ariz, defeating the developmental team for C.D. Guadalajara of Mexico 2-0 in the championship match. Juan Luis Anangono and Quincy Amarikwa scored the Fire goals.
  • Here's the Fire team: Sean Johnson; Lovel Palmer, Bakary Soumare, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Gonzalo Segares; Patrick Nyarko (Harry Shipp 65'), Alex, Jeff Larentowicz (Logan Pause 85'), Dilaver Duka (Benji Joya 79'); Chris Rolfe (Mike Magee 69í); Juan Luis Anangono (Quincy Amarikwa 70')
  • Defending MLS MVP Mike Magee returned to the Fire camp during the final week of preparation in a bid to become fit in time to play in the season opener. Magee has been suffering from a hamstring injury.
  • "[Mike]ís here to play, heís back now, he's excited, heís dealt with the stuff he had," Yallop said. "He's chomping at the bit for me to give him the green light. He'll be involved for sure, at what capacity weíll figure that out." Said Magee: "My fitness is great. I started preseason about four months ago so I'm good."
  • The preseason solidified the center back pairing of Bakary Soumare and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, who was acquired from Seattle Sounders FC.
  • "Baky's been really good, really focused and weíve done a lot of organization stuff with the back four and has been outstanding in the games heís played,î Yallop said. ìHe wants to do well, he has a great demeanor, he's got a bit of a mean streak which is always good for a defender and I think it looks like Jhon Kennedy [Hurtado] will be next to him.î
  • The Fire were also deep enough in central defense to trade 2012 MLS Rookie of the Year Austin Berry to Philadelphia Union.
  • "We have Patrick Ianni who's a very good, experienced player in this league and that's one of the reasons we could afford to let Austin Berry go," Yallop said. "I like the kid and heís been a good player with Chicago and those things but something had to give. We were up against the [salarly] cap, we had to make sure we made the right moves so we were cap compliant and that was one of the moves we had to do."
  • Yallop has changed the Fireís tactical scheme to a 4-1-4-1 setup, with Jeff Larentowicz in a central role behind Alex, connecting the midfield with the back four.
  • "It's definitely different," Larentowicz said. "Last year we played more of a 4-4-2. This year, I'm going to be sitting a little bit behind and working with the back four, and I'm going to have guys in front of me that are going to be stepping out to pressure, so Alex will be more in front of me with another forward/midfielder, so it's going to be slightly different."
  • Said midfielder Patrick Nyarko: "It's a little bit different at least for us wide guys, because we're used to playing all the way out wide, and we have to vary it a little bit, playing a little bit more inside, and then defensively, helping the defensive midfielder to recover the ball when we're on defense. Frank wants it to be a high-intensity kind of game where we're squeezing teams, and trying to dispossess the ball as quickly as we can and then just attack. It's just that mentality, to focus on pinning other teams to one side of the field, and then trying to win possession as quickly as we can and attacking."

OFFSEASON TRANSACTIONS
IN: DF Lovel Palmer (12/13/13 - trade from Real Salt Lake); FW Harrison Shipp (1/9/14 - Homegrown); GK Kyle Reynish (1/10/14 - free); MF Chris RItter (1/13/14 - Homegrown); DF Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (1/15/14 - trade from Seattle); DF Patrick Ianni (1/15/14 - trade from Seattle); FW Giuseppe Gentile (1/24/14) - waiver draft; MF Benji Joya (2/5/14 - weighted lottery); DF Marco Franco (2/25/14 - SuperDraft); DF Greg Cochrane (3/3/14 - trade from LA Galaxy); MF Matt Watson (3/5/14 - trade from Vancouver)

OUT: GK Paolo Tornaghi (11/25/13 - waived); MF ArÈvalo RÌos (11/25/13 - option declined); DF Michael Videira (12/9/13 - option declined); MF Corben Bone (12/9/13 - option declined); MF Joel Lindpere (12/9/13 - option declined); FW Maicon Santos (12/9/13 - option declined); DF Shaun Francis (12/9/13 - out of contract); DF Wells Thompson (12/9/13 - out of contract); MF Daniel Paladini (12/12/13 - traded to Columbus); DF Jalil Anibaba (1/15/14 - traded to Seattle); MF Brendan King (2/20/14 - waived); FW Kellen Gulley (2/20/14 - waived); FW Federico Puppo (2/24/14 - contract terminated); DF Austin Berry (2/14/14 - trade to Philadelphia)