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THE HOME DEPOT CENTER
7 pm PT (FSC; FSN-W; Azteca)
The two teams play the back end of their home-and-home series on the California coast, this time in the Southland after a 3-0 San Jose victory last weekend in Silicon Valley. The Earthquakes increased their lead in the Western Conference with the win, and in doing so ended the Chivas USA hopes of reaching the MLS Cup Playoffs in their first MLS campaign. Remarkably, it was the first win in three tries against the expansion team for the West leaders, who also remained unbeaten at their Spartan Stadium home.
REFEREE: Gus St. Silva. SAR (bench): Kermit Quisenberry; JAR (opposite): Fabio Tovar; 4th: Baldomero Toledo
MLS Career: 32 games; FC/gm: 33.7; Y/gm: 3.9; R: 7; pens: 7
Games involving Chivas USA: first game
Games involving Earthquakes: P5 W2 L2 T1; FC/gm: 33.8; Y/gm: 4.0; R: 2; pens: 1
INJURY REPORT: CHIVAS USA - OUT: FW Thiago Martins (R knee MCL sprain); MF Francisco Gomez (L quadriceps strain); MF Hector Castro (L knee ACL surgery); PROBABLE: DF Armando Begines (L knee strain); DF Victor Arbelaez (L adductor strain); GK Sergio Garcia (L hip pointer) ... SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES - OUT: DF Craig Waibel (R knee torn ACL/LCL); DF Troy Dayak (L knee torn ACL); DOUBTFUL: MF Brad Davis (L groin strain); MF Ian Russell (R peroneal nerve contusion); QUESTIONABLE: DF Kelly Gray (L hamstring strain); PROBABLE: DF Eddie Robinson (L foot contusion)
WARNINGS: CHV: Hector Cuadros (19 CP); Ezra Hendrickson (17 CP); Antonio Martinez (17 CP); Francisco Mendoza (17 CP); Francisco Palencia (9 CP in 2 gms) ... SJ: Brad Davis (18 CP), Ricardo Clark (16 CP)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (3 meetings): Chivas USA 0 wins, 4 goals ... Earthquakes 1 wins, 7 goals ... 2 draws
AT THE HOME DEPOT CENTER: (1 meeting): Chivas USA 0 wins, 1 goals ... Earthquakes 0 wins, 1 goals ... 1 draw
This is the fourth meeting between the two clubs, the second at The Home Depot Center this year and the back end of a home-and-home series over the last two weeks.
Coaches record: Hans Westerhof v SJ: P2 W0 L1 D1 ... Dominic Kinnear vs. CDC: P3 W1 L0 D2
THIS SEASONThe Earthquakes won the third meeting between the teams, 3-0 last weekend in San Jose, after they played to draws in their first two encounters - a 3-3 match on April 9 in San Jose and then a 1-1 draw June 12 in southern California.
The teams met for the first time ever on April 9 at Spartan Stadium, a late goal giving Chivas USA a 3-3 draw with the Earthquakes.
Chivas USA also gained their first point and scored their first goal in a wild match. Thiago Martins scored the first goal in club history after just three minutes, touching home an Orlando Perez cross from the left flank. But just before the break the Earthquakes pulled level through some freekick magic by Brad Davis, who curled the ball around the wall and inside the left post from almost on the top of the area.
Hector Cuadros again gave Chivas the lead when he powerfully headed home an Ezra Hendrickson cross (73), but the Quakes responded with two goals in four minutes, both from Davis services on free kicks. First Troy Dayak leaped up and sent a looping header over Chivas goalkeeper Brad Guzan from a nearly impossible angle (75), then Brian Ching scored his first goal of the season, knifing to nod home at the near post.
But then just after the 90 minutes ticked over, Chivas scored on a set piece of their own. Jesus Ochoa floated in a free kick from the left into the area where Douglas Sequeira fought off a challenge and spun a header past Pat Onstad inside his left-hand post for the equalizer.
Both teams saw winless streaks extended on June 12 at The Home Depot Center as Chivas USA came back to claim a second draw with the Earthquakes on the season.
A quick counter-attack gave the visitors the lead just before the end of the first half. Dwayne De Rosario hit a ball over the Chivas back three and Alejandro Moreno raced to collect it before sliding it past Brad Guzan in the Chivas goal (45).
But after some intense pressure, Chivas finally leveled the match when Ramon Ramirez's pinpoint cross from the left was turned home at the back post by Ezra Hendrickson (66).
Chivas had twice hit the post - a clear header from Isaac Romo and a powerful free kick from Francisco Mendoza - though the 'Quakes had one of their own come off the woodwork when Mark Chung's header hit the bar. San Jose then had an apparent stoppage-time match-winner from De Rosario controversially ruled out for offside.
LAST MEETINGThe Earthquakes hit for three second-half goals to send Chivas to defeat and guarantee they will not reach the MLS Cup Playoffs in their inaugural season. San Jose remained unbeaten at home in league play on the campaign as they moved to within seven points of claiming home-field advantage throughout the postseason.
A scrappy affair opened up just after the break through a little misfortune for Chivas. Mark Chung collected a pass in the left side of the area and hammered a low drive that took a deflection off defender Douglas Sequeira and looped high over goalkeeper Sergio Garcia into the goal (47).
Sequeira saw more misfortune lead to San Jose's second. Ricardo Clark took a pass in the center circle and raced all the way to the top of the Chivas penalty area. He tried to slip a pass through, but Sequeira blocked it - right back to Clark. He hit a quick low shot that beat Garcia inside his left-hand post (74).
Brian Ching then scored his first MLS goal since April 30, taking a pass from Dwayne De Rosario and easily finishing when completely unmarked in the heart of the area (87).
Chivas USA had their winless streak extended to seven matches as the loss to the Earthquakes also ensured their inaugural season will end with the close of the regular season. Chivas USA are still in last place in the Western Conference with 14 points from 27 matches.
Chivas USA boss Hans Westerhof made one change to the team that lost 3-0 to the Columbus Crew at home the previous weekend. Thiago Martins returned to attack, coming in for Matt Taylor.
Here's Westerhof's team (3-3-1-3): Sergio Garcia (Brad Guzan 81) - Ezra Hendrickson, Douglas Sequeira, Orlando Perez - Esteban Arias (Matt Taylor 60), Ramon Ramirez, Francisco Mendoza - Juan Pablo Garcia - Thiago Martins (Isaac Romo 63), Juan Francisco Palencia, Antonio Martinez
"It was clear that they like to look for fights and it took us about 15-20 minutes to fight the same like they do. Then it was an open game until we made the mistake in the midfield and they scored the first goal. It was a little bit of a lucky goal, but that is something that can happen and we have to fight back from that," said Chivas USA head coach Hans Westerhof.
"After the goal, I knew it was a risk, but we wanted to bring in more offense because if we do nothing, we still lose 1-0. It was a risk on our part to try and play one-on-one in the back, but they played better than we did. They had more chances than we did so in the end it was the right score."
While Chivas did enjoy some solid spells of possession, they weren't able to keep the ball enough to take the pressure off their defense. There has also been the Chivas USA penchant for losing the ball in bad places.
"The way we want to play, possession is at a premium," said Hendrickson. "When we don't have possession, there are going to be a lot of counterattacks and that's basically the way we've been giving up our goals all year."
Each of the goals came off somewhat unfortunate deflections - the Chung shot off Sequeira's leg before flying into the goal, Clark attempted through ball that bounced back before he fired home, another pass that deflected into Ching's path for the third.
"You create your luck," said Hendrickson. "We're not playing good [soccer] and bad things are happening to us. We have no one to blame but ourselves."
Garcia was taken off injured with nine minutes to go, as Brad Guzan returned between the posts for Chivas.
Although the club was eliminated from playoff contention following Saturday's 3-0 loss to San Jose, Chivas players still maintain that the season is not a lost cause just yet.
"We have three home games left and we think we can win all three of those and maybe get a couple of ties on the road," Hendrickson said. "We appreciate (the fans' support). That doesn't go unnoticed. It's just a shame that we haven't given them more. Maybe these last five games we can show them our appreciation and play good soccer."
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The San Jose Earthquakes won for the fourth consecutive match and extended their league unbeaten run to eight games with the victory against Chivas USA. With the Los Angeles Galaxy passing FC Dallas for second place in the West, the Quakes now lead by 12 points with 50 points from 26 matches, still one behind the New England Revolution in the race for the MLS Supporters' Shield signifying the league's best overall record.
Earthquakes head coach Dominic Kinnear made one change to the team that defeated FC Dallas 2-0 the weekend before. Dwayne De Rosario returned from international duty with Canada, returning to his attacking central midfield role in place of Danny O'Rourke.
Here's Kinnear's team (4-3-1-2): Pat Onstad - Kelly Gray, Danny Califf, Eddie Robinson, Wade Barrett - Brian Mullan (Chris Wondolowski 89), Ricardo Clark, Mark Chung - Dwayne De Rosario - Ronald Cerritos (Brian Ching 71), Alejandro Moreno
"We have a lot of smart, experienced players on our team and they know how to prepare for each game. They know that if we slow down a little and get in a lull, it is hard to get out of it," Kinnear said. It is a long season and we just have to keep working hard and getting results. I know everyone here is motivated to keep playing well and hopefully we can close out the season well."
For Pat Onstad, it was his team record 10th shutout of the season. "I've said it hundreds of times, [shutouts are] a team statistic," said Onstad. "The goalkeeper has a little bit of a role to play, but at the same time, you don't get a shutout unless your team plays well."
Given the early-season injuries to the Earthquakes rearguard - Troy Dayak and Craig Waibel were starters to open the campaign but were lost to season-ending injuries - it could be somewhat surprising San Jose now has the best defensive record in the league.
"Obviously Danny Califf coming in with his experience and leadership has helped. I wouldn't say we were leaderless at the back, but maybe we didn't have that one guy to take the team by the horns," Onstad said. "I also think one of the biggest things has been Dwayne De Rosario coming in and playing central midfield for us. The best way to defend is when you keep the ball, and he and Ricardo [Clark] have hit it off pretty well in midfield."
Onstad also points to his teammates as keeping the pressure off him. "I'll take that all day," said Onstad of his lack of activity. "Maybe that has to do with my time in Rochester in the A-League because there we had a strong team and I didn't get much action either. I'm used to it now. If I can make my two or three stops and grab my two or three crosses, then these guys will do the rest for me."
Ching was thrilled to get his first league goal after undergoing surgery to repair a torn hamstring. "It felt great getting a goal tonight coming off my injury. We just had a strong team effort tonight all the way around. You have to give credit to this team and the coaching staff. Everyone comes out every game with the same attitude and we need to keep that going the rest of the season," he said.
On Friday, the Quakes announced the signing of Aaron Lanes to a developmental contract. A product of the University of California-Santa Cruz (Division III), the 22-year-old midfielder has been training with the club and played in three reserve matches.