Expansion rivalry renewed in Carson
THE HOME DEPOT CENTER
7 pm PT (HDNet; FSN-W2/RM)
The third installment of the Expansion Clasíco is ahead, as both teams have been putting more expansion-like results lately. Chivas USA last won the last time time the two teams met at The Home Depot Center, their only victory of the campaign as they are currently suffering through an 11-game winless run. Real Salt Lake have gone eight games without a victory, though they've answered a five-game losing streak and record scoreless run with draws in two of their last three games.
REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda. SAR (bench): Fabio Tovar; JAR (opposite): Emiliano Monje; 4th: Ramon Hernandez
MLS Career: 3 games; FC/gm: 40.0; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 2; pens: 1
Games involving Chivas USA: first game
Games involving Real: P1 W0 L1 T0; FC/gm: 45.0; Y/gm: 1.0; R: 1; pens: 1
INJURY REPORT: CHIVAS USA - OUT: GK Martin Zuñiga (R knee ACL sprain); PROBABLE: FW Isaac Romo (R hamstring strain); MF Jesus Ochoa (L knee MCL sprain); DF Aaron Lopez (L shoulder sprain) ... REAL SALT LAKE - OUT: DF Rustin Pierce (R hamstring strain); DF Paul Broome (L ankle sprain); PROBABLE: FW Jordan Cila (L ankle sprain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: CHV: DF Douglas Sequeira (Costa Rica; CONCACAF Gold Cup) ... RSL: DF Eddie Pope (USA; CONCACAF Gold Cup); MF Andy Williams (Jamaica; CONCACAF Gold Cup); MF Nikolas Besagno (U.S. U-17 national team)
SUSPENDED: CHV: Orlando Perez (through July 9) ... RSL: Brian Dunseth (through July 9)
WARNINGS: CHV: Ramon Ramirez (19 CP); Hector Cuadros (16 CP), Antonio Martinez (8 CP in 2 gms) ... RSL: Jason Kreis (17 CP)
ALL-TIME (2 meetings): Chivas 1 win (0 shootout), 1 goal ...Real 1 wins (0 shootout), 2 goals ... 0 draws
AT THE HOME DEPOT CENTER: Chivas 1 win (0 shootout), 1 goal ... Real 0 wins (0 shootout), 0 goal ... 0 draws
This is the third meeting between the expansion clubs and the second at The Home Depot Center, the first in a span of less than a month. Their final league meeting will come on Aug. 6 in Utah.
Each team has won once in their expansion derby, Chivas USA winning 1-0 at home May 7, then Real Salt Lake claiming a 2-0 win at home just 11 days later.
Chivas USA won their first-ever game in club history, using a first-half penalty kick for the only goal of the game as they defeated Real Salt Lake in a meeting of the league's two newest teams.
The first match between the expansion clubs was a crazy affair. Chivas USA took a lead for the first time ever at home in the 39th minute from the penalty spot. Real Salt Lake defender Marlon Rojas was ruled to have knocked down a cross with his hand on the edge of the area, and Hector Cuadros finished from the spot.
Real finished with 10 men - but through bizarre circumstances. Goalkeeper D.J. Countess was injured in the 80th minute when he fell awkwardly on his shoulder - but coach John Ellinger had already used his three substitutions. That meant Brian Kamler had to pick up the gloves and go between the posts, but he was not called upon to make a single stop.
Real Salt Lake got their revenge in a rematch of the expansion rivals with a 2-0 victory at Rice-Eccles Stadium on May 18.
Real scored a pair of goals two minutes apart in the first half while nearly completely shutting down the Chivas USA attack. Andy Williams gave the home side the lead on 27 minutes, Chris Brown bursting into the box from the right and pulling Brad Guzan off his line before sliding a pass across to Williams, who tapped home easily for his goal with RSL.
A pair of players making their first Real starts teamed up two minutes later. Jordan Cila got out of the corner before driving a low ball to the near post where Seth Trembly came sliding in to knock it home.
Chivas USA were held without a single shot on goal for the entire match, as Real 'keeper D.J. Countess wasn't called upon to make a save in his return to the lineup. He was saved by the woodwork, however, a 30th-minute shot from Hector Cuadros hitting the inside of the post before bouncing back to the RSL shot-stopper.
Here's John Ellinger's team (4-1-4-1): D.J. Countess - Rusty Pierce, Brian Dunseth, Eddie Pope, Nelson Akwari - Brian Kamler - Chris Brown, Clint Mathis, Andy Williams (Leighton O'Brien 67), Seth Trembly (Jamie Watson 89) - Jordan Cila (Dipsy Selolwane 84).
Here's Thomas Rongen's team (4-2-3-1): Brad Guzan - Ezra Hendrickson, Alfonso Loera, Ryan Suarez (Francisco Gomez 82), Armando Begines - Douglas Sequeira, Orlando Perez (Isaac Romo 55) - Hector Cuadros, Ramon Ramirez, Francisco Mendoza (Arturo Torres 68) -Thiago Martins
The last time MLS had expansion teams, they opened the season against each other, the Chicago Fire claiming a 2-0 victory against the Miami Fusion at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale on March 21, 1998. The expansion teams faced each other one other time that season, the Fusion returning the favor with a 3-2 win on Sept. 2, 1998 at Soldier Field.
Coaches record: Hans Westerhof vs. RSL: first game ... John Ellinger v CHV: P2 W1 L1 D 0
Chivas USA lost for the fourth consecutive match and saw their winless streak extend to 11 games, holding out until going a man down and eventually falling 1-0 to the Chicago Fire last Saturday at The Home Depot Center. Chivas USA are still propping up the Western Conference with six points from 17 matches, six behind fifth-place Real Salt Lake, 11 points out of the final playoff place and 28 behind MLS overall leader FC Dallas.
Chivas USA battled hard with the Chicago Fire and had the upper hand for much of the early exchanges. They also saw a penalty saved, Chivas 'keeper turning aside Jesse Marsch's spot kick after a handball.
But everything changed in the 76th minute when Orlando Perez was shown a straight red card for a hard tackle. The ensuing restart was flighted into the back post where defender Jim Curtin knocked it back across the face of goal. Gonzalo Segares came racing in to bundle it over the line for his second goal on the campaign (78).
Chivas USA head coach Hans Westerhof made two changes to the team that lost 3-0 to the Kansas City Wizards the previous Saturday. Francisco Gomez came into an unfamiliar central role in the back three, coming in for the released Ryan Suarez, while Antonio Martinez returned to the team for Douglas Sequeira, away on national team duty.
Here's Westerhof's team (3-3-3-1): Brad Guzan - Armando Begines, Francisco Gomez, Ezra Hendrickson - Esteban Arias, Ramon Ramirez (Alfonso Loera 80), Orlando Perez - Antonio Martinez, Hector Cuadros (Francisco Mendoza 83), Matt Taylor - Thiago Martins
"When you lose a player you have to readjust your strategy but I didn't have a chance to do that because they scored a minute later," said Westerhof. "We played better, we played with our hearts but, to be honest, we (lacked cleverness)."
On the night of the Fire match, Chivas began the rebuilding of their team when they announced the acquisition of midfielder Juan Pablo Garcia from Atlas. The 23-year-old striker has scored 25 goals for Atlas since he became a fixture in the starting lineup in the Clausura 2003 season. He bagged a career-high eight goals in 19 matches during the Clausura 2004 campaign.
"He has all the qualities needed to succeed in MLS: speed, intelligence, grit, technical ability and - most importantly - a knack for scoring goals," Westerhof said.
However, Garcia will not join Chivas likely until after the All-Star break - he is part of the Mexico squad in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Garcia can "bring more creativity to the midfield but one player can't change everything," said Westerhof.
Chivas will not leave The Home Depot Center for the remainder of the month, in what will likely define their playoff future. They have home matches against Real Salt Lake and New England sandwiching an "away" match against the Galaxy.
"We're getting better but we're not where we want to be or need to be to make the playoffs," said Hendrickson. "We still have a chance to catch up to Real Salt Lake and Colorado but it's going to take wins. We need to pick up maximum points in these next three home games."
Said Westerhof: "I don't believe that we have lost all our possibilities to make it to the playoffs. I will resign those chances when we have three games left and 10 points behind of the fourth place"
REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake saw their winless run extended to eight games, but played to a second draw in three games in a match that will seem more like a victory, going a man down yet overcoming a two-goal deficit in the final 11 minutes in a 2-2 draw with the MetroStars. Real are in fifth place in the Western Conference with 13 points from 16 matches, seven ahead of Chivas USA and four behind fourth-place Colorado Rapids, trailing first-place FC Dallas by 21 points.
Real Salt Lake overcame a man disadvantage as the MetroStars saw a late lead evaporate for the second consecutive match.
Just before the halftime break, Sergio Galvan Rey fired a shot that RSL 'keeper D.J. Countess couldn't handle, but Ante Razov slipped in to pound the rebound home for his third goal since joining the MetroStars. Then seconds later, Real defender Brian Dunseth was sent off with a straight red for a foul on Eddie Gaven.
After the break, the MetroStars quickly took advantage and doubled their lead, Mike Magee scoring his first goal since last Sept. 11 after being set up by Eddie Gaven.
But a poor clearance led to Real getting a goal back in the 79th minute. Substitute Seth Trembly took a pass at the corner of the area and curled a shot past the outstretched Zach Wells into the side netting. Then just before the clock ticked over 90 minutes, Jason Kreis was taken down by Metro defender Carlos Mendes in the area, and he calmly buried his own spot kick for his 97th career goal and a share of the points for his team.
Real coach John Ellinger made two changes to the team that lost 3-1 to the Chicago Fire the previous Sunday on the road - both in central defense. Eddie Pope was away on international duty as Brian Dunseth and Rusty Pierce came in for Pope and Cameron Knowles - though Pierce re-injured his hamstring before a quarter-hour was played and Knowles returned to the team.
Here's Ellinger's team (4-1-3-2): D.J. Countess - Nelson Akwari, Brian Dunseth, Rusty Pierce (Cameron Knowles 14), Brian Kamler (Seth Trembly 76) - Kenny Cutler - Andy Williams, Jason Kreis, Clint Mathis - Jamie Watson, Chris Brown (Leslie Fitzpatrick 46)
"At halftime every player that went back on the field knew that our backs were against the wall. We just kept playing and playing, and getting opportunities," Ellinger said. "At the end of the game they were getting tired and we just kept pushing them."
Even with his experience, Kreis said he felt the pressure facing the spot kick for the tying goal as the clock ticked over for the full 90 minutes. Still, he easily beat the diving Wells for the leveler.
"The nerves are still there," he said. "I've been in the league 10 years and 90-something goals, but I still get nervous ... When I'm not nervous anymore, I'll know it will be time to quit."
Real's late fightback began with a goal from Seth Trembly just three minutes after he came on the field for Brian Kamler on the left. "Seth was the spark that we needed and he did a great job scoring the goal. His job going into the game was to go in and take over the left side of the field, and that is what he ended up doing," Ellinger said.
"I had no idea where the keeper was," said Trembly of his goal. "I just saw the far post and knew if I could get side netting he couldn't get to it. I just hit it right."
Real now head back onto the road for back-to-back matches, having not yet won this season on their travels. "We've been asking ourselves a lot of questions about what we have inside of us," Kreis said to The Salt Lake Tribune. "And I think, tonight, it came out. The one thing that's difficult about a game like tonight is that now we know what we can do, and it must come out every week. There will be no more exceptions, and it will be inexcusable if we don't put that effort forth that we need."
Since arriving from the Los Angeles Galaxy, RSL defender Paul Broome has been slowed by a left ankle injury. Ellinger faces a shortage of defenders with Pope on national team duty, Dunseth suspended and Pierce likely out for a couple of weeks through injury. "It's disappointing," Ellinger said. "Hopefully Paul will be healthy; we'll let someone else take a crack at the defense."
Leslie Fitzpatrick rejected his call into the Trinidad & Tobago national team for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Fitzpatrick informed T&T technical director Leo Beenhakker that he would prefer not to be called in to national team duty if he wasn't going to start, and Beenhakker informed him he wasn't likely to start.