THE HOME DEPOT CENTER
7:30 pm PT (Azteca)
The first chapter in the Chivas USA history has been completed, with the expansion team having won just one of their first 10 matches and now with a new head coach coming after Thomas Rongen was relieved of his coaching duties following last weekend's second loss in the Super Clasíco. They play host to the Kansas City Wizards who had started to again find their MLS Cup Final form of a year ago, having posted back-to-back 1-0 victories at home last week, though they now embark on a road swing this week that will see travel from coast-to-coast.
REFEREE: Abbey Okulaja. SAR (bench): Steven Davidson; JAR (opposite): David Bragg; 4th: Baldomero Toledo
MLS Career: 28 games; FC/gm: 31.3; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 2; pens: 9
Games involving Chivas USA: first game
Games involving Wizards: P6 W2 L1 T3 FC/gm: 31.7; Y/gm: 3.0; R: 1; pens: 1
INJURY REPORT: CHIVAS USA - OUT: MF Michael Muñoz (L ankle sprain); MF Jesus Ochoa (L abdominal strain); PROBABLE: DF Michael Erush (sports hernia surgery) ... KANSAS CITY WIZARDS - OUT: MF Diego Walsh (athletic pubalgia)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: KC: Josh Wolff, Kerry Zavagnin (USA; June 4 v Costa Rica)
YELLOW PERIL: KC: Davy Arnaud (18 CP)
ALL-TIME: first meeting
CHIVAS HOME GAME: first meeting
This is the first of two meetings between the clubs this season, the only league encounter scheduled for The Home Depot Center. Their only meeting in Kansas City will also come in June, on the 25th at Arrowhead Stadium.
Coaches record: Zully Ledesma vs. KC: first game... Bob Gansler v CHV: first game
Chivas USA lost for the fourth consecutive match and seventh time in eight outings, the Los Angeles Galaxy winning the Super Clasíco for the second time on the campaign, claiming a 2-0 victory at The Home Depot Center on Saturday night. Chivas USA still sit at the foot of the Western Conference table with four points from 10 matches, four behind the Colorado Rapids and 17 adrift of FC Dallas atop the division.
The Los Angeles Galaxy won a "road" game for the first time this season - even though it came on their home ground - defeating stadium mates Chivas USA 2-0 in the second Super Clasico this season in what was the final match in charge for Chivas head coach Thomas Rongen.
After a tense first half, Costa Rican defender Pablo Chinchilla put the Galaxy ahead when he was left completely free to head home a Jovan Kirovski free kick from the top of the goal area (62).
Peter Vagenas then finished off the match 14 minutes from the end when he pounded home a lovely feed from Kirovski, who claimed the ball and set off on a mazy run through a host of Chivas defenders before finding Vagenas alone just inside the area.
Rongen made two changes to the team that lost 5-2 to FC Dallas the weekend before at home. Alfonso Loera came into central defense as Francisco Gomez returned to the substitute's bench, Douglas Sequeira moving forward into midfield. Orlando Perez came in at left back for Armando Begines.
Here's Rongen's team (4-2-1-3): Martin Zuniga - Ezra Hendrickson, Alfonso Loera (Francisco Gomez 87), Ryan Suarez, Orlando Perez (Matt Taylor 79) - Douglas Sequeira, Ramon Ramirez - Hector Cuadros (Arturo Torres 69) - Thiago Martins, Isaac Romo, Francisco Mendoza.
TEAM NEWSAs was expected, on Monday, Rongen was relieved of his duties as head coach of Chivas USA. Assistant coach Javier "Zully" Ledesma was named interim head coach; Rongen was named the club's new sporting director.
"The decision that we have taken represents a good opportunity for the team," Chivas USA president and co-owner Antonio Cue said. "We have 20 games remaining and we feel that gives us enough time to reach the playoffs. The work that Thomas has done since the beginning, the foundation we have established coupled with the new coach and the reinforcements he'll bring in are all important factors in helping the organization meet its short-term goals."
Cue said a new coach has not only been found but that he's agreed to terms on a contract. The only thing holding up the new coach's arrival is visa issues. Rongen's successor could arrive in time for Wednesday's game against Kansas City but Cue said the club would like to have him in place by Saturday's game at Chicago at the latest.
"The person who we bring will represent how serious both the people in Guadalajara and here are with this project," Cue said. "Not only has he coached in Mexico but he's coached overseas. He will bring respect to the position and I'm certain he will obtain results."
The Chivas players felt they were to blame for Rongen's dismissal from coaching duties. "I apologized to Thomas personally in front of the team and in his own office. I was sorry to see him go and I was sorry we didn't fight for him like we should have," defender Ryan Suarez said. "At the end of the day a good coach and a good person is without a job."
Said defender Ezra Hendrickson: "We are just not playing good soccer right. The players, we take the blame for that. Thomas doesn't go out there and play the games on Saturday night. We're the ones that go out there, and we're the ones that are making mistakes."
KANSAS CITY WIZARDS
For the second time in four days, the Kansas City Wizards posted a 1-0 victory at home in their last match, a victory against the San Jose Earthquakes. The win kept the Wizards in third place in the Eastern Conference, now with 15 points from nine matches, just a point behind the Chicago Fire (and three ahead of the MetroStars), and six points behind the pace-setting New England Revolution.
The win came on the heels of a 1-0 victory against the MetroStars at midweek, while the Earthquakes lost for the second time on their three-game road trip.
Halftime substitute Jack Jewsbury was the hero, knocking the rebound of a saved shot for his fourth goal of the campaign. Jewsbury was set free and saw his first shot saved but then spilled by San Jose goalkeeper Pat Onstad and he picked up the rebound and rounded the 'keeper to drive it home.
Wizards boss Bob Gansler made no changes from the team that defeated the Metros on Wednesday at home. Here's Gansler's team (4-4-2): Bo Oshoniyi - Nick Garcia, Jimmy Conrad, Shavar Thomas, Jose Burciaga Jr. - Chris Klein, Diego Gutierrez, Sasha Victorine, Alex Zotinca (Jack Jewsbury 46) - Scott Sealy (Justin Detter 73), Davy Arnaud
"This was big for us. We needed to come home after the D.C. game (May 21) and get two home wins and were able to do that," goalkeeper Bo Oshoniyi said. "Now we need to go on the road for two games; it's always tough playing in L.A., but hopefully we can go after it and keep this roll going. Everyone is fighting for each other right now, and hopefully we can keep things going."
TEAM NEWSAfter scoring in his first two matches of the season - when he started both - Jewsbury had started just one other match on the campaign. But he's still appeared in every match on the season.
"No matter where he's played, he wanders forward. He gets his shot, and sometimes he gets his rebound as well," Gansler said. "He's done it too often to be accidental, so you've got to give him credit. Jack is just gifted. He's gifted in that way."
The win was the first time this season the Wizards have posted back-to-back shutouts. In fact, it was the first time during the campaign they had followed a shutout without allowing three goals in the next match - as had happened three times previously. "Two wins, 1-0, we're very happy," said Jewsbury. "We didn't play as well as we'd like to, but sometimes you have those games. We stuck it out and got a victory."
Despite scoring just two goals in two home matches, the six points were the important thing to the Wizards. "Sometimes you're going to have games where you don't have much of the ball. In those games you have to defend well and make your chances count," said midfielder Chris Klein "We've had a lot of games this year where we've been fun to watch, but we haven't been so effective."