Chivas USA will have their hands full
Chivas USA and New England are on the opposite ends of Major League Soccer's spectrum. While Chivas USA can't stop others from scoring, the Revolution have yet to be stopped.
Chivas USA heads to New England Saturday in the Red-and-White's first regular-season match outside of California. And while the previous four matches have brought nothing but defensive heartache, this is the first they'll face against a team hitting on all cylinders.
"It seems that Taylor Twellman is his old self and that means trouble for a lot of teams because he's a very good goalscorer," Chivas USA coach Thomas Rongen said. "Steve Ralston may be one of the leading assist guys in the league. Clint Dempsey is a great up-and-coming player. They're a team that hasn't changed much from last year and finally they seem like they're gelling pretty well early which they haven't done in prior years."
The Revolution is off to their best-ever start. Rongen said that the club should challenge for the Eastern Conference title all season.
"They're going to be a good team this year and a force to be reckoned with," Rongen said, "but we're going up there with the intention of getting some points on the road."
The Revs have league highs in wins (three), points (10), goals scored (12) and goal differential (plus-seven). Chivas USA's defense will have its hands full with the Revs' dangerous trio of Dempsey (three goals, three assists), Twellman (three goals, two assists) and Pat Noonan (three goals).
Chivas USA defender Ezra Hendrickson said the club must contain the Revolution's attack from the flanks.
"The key to New England is they like to go out and get crosses in," he said. "If we cut that service off from the wings we'll be fine. Then, it just becomes a matter of marking up the guys in the box and grabbing a guy and making sure he doesn't get away from you."
Aside from the Revs' high-powered trio, Ralston also presents problems from the wing.
"We really have to work on cutting down (Ralston's) serves because Twellman and Ralston know each other really well," Hendrickson said. "It's almost as if Steve knows where Twellman is going to make the run because they connect a lot."
Chivas USA, who have allowed a league-high 11 goals this season, might field the same backline as last week. Hendrickson and Orlando Perez have started each of the first four games at right and left back, respectively. Douglas Sequeira was unavailable in the season opener but has played every minute of the last three games while Alfonso Loera made his first start last week after recovering from groin surgery.
Central defender Ryan Suarez will miss his second consecutive match due to a concussion.
If Chivas USA's defense cannot stop the Revolution, perhaps the weather and fatigue could. Saturday's forecast calls for rain as the Revolution will be playing their third match in eight days.
Even if the Red-and-White does not get its first victory, a draw at this stage would suffice.
"We'd love to get three points but on the road you get a point and that's a good result," Hendrickson said.
Luis Bueno is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.