CARSON, Calif. – Having had 10 days since their last match, Chivas USA will take on the Vancouver Whitecaps Saturday night (10:30 pm ET; watch LIVE online) hoping that their rest will not lead to rust.
“We’ll know that on Saturday night, I guess, but [the rest] has been great,” forward Juan Pablo Ángel told MLSsoccer.com. “We have a majority of the players healthy, which hasn’t happened in a long time for us, so it’s good to have a large amount of players available for selection. We needed the rest after a very busy schedule so hopefully all the things that we worked on through these past few days will pay off against Vancouver.”
While most of the Goats will be good to go, forward Juan Agudelo remains a question mark, having sat out the entire week of practice dealing with what he described as a “bone bruise” in his left knee that led to swelling. But aside from Agudelo’s knock and suspended midfielder Oswaldo Minda (yellow-card accumulation) the club will have its entire roster of players available for selection.
They’ll be facing a Vancouver side that has earned a result in six of its last seven games, including a 1-0 victory over Colorado on Wednesday. The Whitecaps have already had success against the Rojiblancos this season, earning a 1-0 win at the Home Depot Center in March.
“Last time they came here, they managed to get a win,” said Ángel. “They were well organized, they didn’t create much, but the chance that they got, they scored and it was enough. Looking at their game on the weekend was similar: They’re well organized and have a strategy that the stick to. We need to make sure that we’re patient and we take our chances when we get them.”
Although the benefits of their week-long break are up for dispute, head coach Robin Fraser believes that his side needs to take charge against the Whitecaps.
“In theory it does [help], theoretically they’ve traveled and they’ve played, so they’re supposed to be more tired,” Fraser told MLSsoccer.com. “But in reality, I’ve seen many times where it doesn’t make a difference. We have to be prepared to play a good team, we have to be prepared to execute and execute in the areas of the field where we need to execute and that has to be our focus.”
Rearranging backline reserves
The Rojiblancos made a pair moves on Friday aimed at strengthening their defense.
First, they acquired the rights of Bobby Burling from the Montreal Impact in exchange for a 2013 International Roster Spot. There is no word yet about whether not the defender’s signing is imminent, but Burling has been on a trial with the club since early June and has made a pair of Reserve League appearances.
The club also waived defender Scott Gordon, who made five first team appearances including a pair of starts during Chivas’ first two US Open Cup contests.
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.