L.A. neighbors set to clash again
THE HOME DEPOT CENTER
7 pm PT (HDNet; FSN-W)
The second Super Clasico is ahead, with the Los Angeles Galaxy wondering if their "trip" will help turn around their road form. Chivas USA still have just one victory on their maiden campaign, hitting the low point thus far last weekend at home in a 5-2 loss to FC Dallas. The Galaxy saw their perfect record at The Home Depot Center halted at midweek in a scoreless draw with the Columbus Crew, but in two road matches they still have yet to take a single point.
REFEREE: Kevin Stott. SAR (bench): George Vergara; JAR (opposite): George Gansner; 4th: Colin Arblaster
MLS Career: 112 games; FC/gm: 26.8; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 30; pens: 19
Games involving Chivas USA: P1 W0 L1 T0 FC/gm: 26.0; Y/gm: 4.0; R: 0; pens: 0
Games involving Galaxy: P21 W10 L8 T3 FC/gm: 25.3; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 2; pens: 5
INJURY REPORT: CHIVAS USA - OUT: MF Michael Muñoz (L ankle sprain); MF Jesus Ochoa (L abdominal strain); PROBABLE: DF Michael Erush (sports hernia surgery) ... LOS ANGELES GALAXY - OUT: DF Chris Albright (L knee MCL sprain); FW Alan Gordon (R hip strain); PROBABLE: MF Guillermo Ramirez (L quadriceps contusion)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: LA: Michael Umaña (Costa Rica; May 24 v Norway); Landon Donovan (USA; May 28 v England)
YELLOW PERIL: none
ALL-TIME (1 meetings): Chivas USA 0 wins, 1 goals ... Galaxy 1 win, 3 goals ... 0 draws
AS CHIVAS HOME GAME: first meeting
This is the second meeting between the two clubs in the Honda Super Clasíco - all four of course at The Home Depot Center. Chivas USA will be the home team this time, with the Galaxy's next turn coming on July 16, the final meeting (a Chivas home game) coming Oct. 8.
Coaches record: Steve Sampson vs. CDC: P1 W1 L0 D0... Thomas Rongen v LA: P17 W4 L13 D0
At The Home Depot Center on April 23, the first Los Angeles derby lived up to many expectations with a vibrant, intense match both on and off the field. But it was the MLS original Galaxy that owned the contest, scoring three goals in the first 32 minutes to run out easy 3-1 winners.
Cobi Jones gave the Galaxy a 14th-minute lead when Chris Albright turned a corner kick on goal, only to see Chivas USA's Hector Cuadros clear it off the line. But Jones swooped in at the top of the area to blaze a first-time shot back under the crossbar.
Then 10 minutes later the 'home' side struck again, a long ball from Jones out of midfield headed down by Landon Donovan into the path of Peter Vagenas steaming up the center-forward channel, and he skipped through a tackle before lashing a low shot past Chivas 'keeper Brad Guzan.
And then after Donovan was hacked down on the edge of the area, Jovan Kirovski hooked a free kick over the wall and inside Guzan's right-hand post to put the Galaxy up 3-0 (32).
Just after the break Chivas pulled a goal back, credited to Isaac Romo when his slightest of touches slipped a deflection of a Ramon Ramirez free kick from the right flank past Galaxy 'keeper Kevin Hartman (49). But six minutes later Aaron Lopez was sent off for a second bookable offense and that sealed Chivas USA's fate.
Here's Sampson's team (4-4-2): Kevin Hartman - Chris Albright (Michael Umana 54), Ugo Ihemelu, Tyrone Marshall, Todd Dunivant - Cobi Jones, Paulo Nagamura, Peter Vagenas, Guillermo Ramirez - Landon Donovan, Jovan Kirovski (Ednaldo da Conceicao 64)
Here's Rongen's team (4-3-3): Brad Guzan - Ezra Hendrickson, Alfonso Loera, Douglas Sequeira, Orlando Perez - Ramon Ramirez, Hector Cuadros, Aaron Lopez - Arturo Torres (Isaac Romo 24), Thiago Martins (Antonio Martinez 70), Matt Taylor
Chivas USA lost for the third consecutive match and sixth time in seven contests, allowing a season-high five goals in a 5-2 victory against FC Dallas at The Home Depot Center on Sunday evening. Chivas USA still have just four points from nine matches and sit at the foot of the Western Conference table, three points behind the Colorado Rapids and now 14 adrift of West leader FC Dallas.
FC Dallas began a month-long road run with a big victory as they shredded the Chivas USA backline. The scoreline was level entering the break: Aaron Pitchkolan having given FCD a dream start after just 35 seconds, redirecting a Ramon Nunez shot with the slightest of touches for his first professional goal before Chivas USA's Hector Cuadros equalized from the penalty spot (19).
But it was all FC Dallas after the break. Carlos Ruiz put the Hoops in front when he turned on Chivas defender Douglas Sequeira and lashed home a low shot from the edge of the area (48), then three minutes later Ronnie O'Brien again hit the back of the net with a long-range bomb, this one from all of 25 yards.
Isaac Romo pulled Chivas a goal back just two minutes later when he headed home a neat cross from Cuadros from the heart of the box. Yet FC Dallas killed off the game with two more goals, Eddie Johnson collecting a square pass from Pitchkolan before sending in a low shot off goalkeeper Martin Zuniga, before Ecuadorian international Roberto Mina completed the scoring in stoppage time when he chipped home into an unguarded goal after Zuniga had come off his line to knock the ball away from Ruiz after he had burst through unchecked.
Chivas USA coach Thomas Rongen made three changes to the team that lost 2-0 to expansion rival Real Salt Lake at midweek. With Alfonso Loera suspended, Douglas Sequeira moved back to central defense and Francisco Gomez came into the team, his first start since the season opener. Isaac Romo made his first MLS start, playing as center forward as Thiago Martins moved into the playmaking role. Mexican veteran Martin Zuniga made his first MLS appearance, coming in between the posts for rookie Brad Guzan.
Here's Rongen's team (4-2-1-3): Martin Zuniga - Ezra Hendrickson, Douglas Sequeira, Ryan Suarez, Armando Begines - Francisco Gomez (Orlando Perez 58), Ramon Ramirez - Thiago Martins - Hector Cuadros, Isaac Romo, Francisco Mendoza
"I've given this team my total faith. If there are shortcomings, it's maybe not on the playing field," Rongen said. "I've got to look at myself tonight in the mirror and ask 'Where did we go wrong and how do we rectify it and how do I need to do it as the ultimate responsible guy in this organization? "I'm not going shed the blame on the players. I can't ask more from them in terms of their work rate, their attitude, their fight."
The five goals were the most surrendered by a club that had already allowed the most in the league. The Red-and-White now have one win and one draw from nine matches with its lone victory two weeks ago having led to nothing. "It's like we're living a nightmare right now," defender Ryan Suarez said. "At the end of the day, there's just no more excuses. I don't know ... I don't have an answer for this."
It was also a nightmare debut for Martin Zuñiga, the Mexican veteran who injured his knee on March 2 and was put into the lineup in place of rookie Brad Guzan. "I didn't blame Brad the first seven or eight games, I'm not blaming Martin for this one," Rongen said.
Rongen also said there was no question Zuñiga was ready. "Martin is as healthy as he can be right now," Rongen said. "We felt like we did with Romo ... players deserve chances when you go through tough times. ... "Just like with Brad ... in all honesty, players deserve more than one game. It would be easy to use him (Zuñiga) as a scapegoat but that's not the case.
Said Zuñiga of his MLS debut: "This was very unfortunate. When you take five goals there is nothing to say about. Just shut your mouth and go back to work."
LOS ANGELES GALAXY
The Los Angeles Galaxy saw their perfect home record go by the wayside though they still remain unbeaten at The Home Depot Center after playing to a scoreless draw with the Columbus Crew on Wednesday night. The Galaxy now have 16 points from eight matches, two behind Western Conference leader FC Dallas with a match in hand.
The big moment of the match came late in the first half, when defender Robin Fraser fell onto the outside of goalkeeper Jon Busch's knee. The Crew 'keeper went down for a few minutes before gamely completing the first half, but he was in position to continue. Bill Gaudette made his MLS debut, coming in for the second half between the posts.
Galaxy coach Steve Sampson made two changes to the team that returned to its winning ways the Saturday before in a 2-1 victory against the San Jose Earthquakes. With Landon Donovan on international duty, Naldo da Conceicao partnered Jovan Kirovski in attack, while Pablo Chinchilla replaced the banned Ugo Ihemelu in central defense.
Here's Sampson's team (4-4-2): Kevin Hartman - Chris Albright (Benjamin Benditson 69), Pablo Chinchilla, Tyrone Marshall, Todd Dunivant - Cobi Jones (Mubarike Chisoni 57), Paulo Nagamura, Peter Vagenas, Guillermo Ramirez (Joseph Ngwenya 64) - Jovan Kirovski, Ednaldo da Conceicao.
"I think in the first half we created a number of opportunities," said Sampson. "It was important for us that we got at least one so we could get Columbus to create space for us between their lines."
While again dominating possession and outshooting the Crew 12-6, the Galaxy again suffered a familiar fate of not finishing their chances.
"I'm happy to get the shutout on the one hand, but I think we're disappointed with that result. I thought we played well, we kept the ball well; we just didn't have that answer in the final third," Dunivant said. "I think we were a little too panicky or we weren't quite calm enough in the final third, we weren't able to figure it out. I think that was the difference. We were able to get down there. They gave us the midfield. I thought we controlled the game very well; we just didn't have that answer in the final third."
The Galaxy also struggled to break down the Crew's massed defense. "They had a very distinct approach to the game," said Pete Vagenas. "Their focus was to sit back and get players behind the ball to disrupt our continuity. I think they did a fairly decent job tonight."
Sampson tried to change things up when he brought on Chisoni and Ngwenya for the wide attacking midfielders. "We tried to look at a couple of different combinations. We brought Joseph Ngwenya on with his speed and finally got Mamba Chisoni on to use his speed to get in behind," Sampson said. "A few players just didn't have a good night tonight and we just couldn't find that rhythm in the second half that we normally have."
For Ngwenya, his appearance was a surprise - Sampson earlier saying he needs a hernia operation and will have to miss four to five weeks.
There was an injury concern late as Chris Albright went down with a suspected knee injury. Ben Benditson made his professional debut, coming on as a 69th-minute substitute.
Michael Umaña missed the match, away on international duty with Costa Rica for their 1-0 loss to Norway in Oslo on Tuesday. He played the full match as one of Alexandre Guimaraes' three center backs.
Peter Vagenas' game-winning header against the Earthquakes was named the Sierra Mist Goal of the Week in balloting on the league's official website, MLSnet.com.