CARSON, Calif. – If Chivas USA are to snap their seven-game winless streak this weekend, they will have to do it without two key components of their squad.
Attacking midfielder Mauro Rosales will miss Saturday night’s home match against the Houston Dynamo (10:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE) with a left adductor strain, joining goalkeeper Dan Kennedy (red card suspension) on the sideline as the Rojiblancos seek their first victory since the season opener.
The injury to Rosales – who left last week’s 1-0 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes in the 69th minute – dealt another blow to Chivas USA, who this year have already had to replace promising rookie midfielder Thomas McNamara (right anterior cruciate ligament tear) and moved onto a third option at left back following setbacks to Tony Lochhead (left hamstring strain) and Andrew Jean-Baptiste (hernia).
The Goats grabbed only one point from a possible 12 in April and have yet to shut out an opponent this season, yet Kennedy has proven to be a solidifying presence in front of net amidst the constant lineup changes in front of him. Head coach Wilmer Cabrera is confident the defense is in good hands, though.
“We have Tim Melia, who is ready and prepared,” Cabrera told MLSsoccer.com. “He has been working very well since preseason and this is his opportunity. This came up and he has all our support.”
Melia, 27, allowed seven goals in two starts at the end of last season. He played the final 12 minutes last week after Kennedy was sent off for his hand ball outside the box.
With Rosales out, holding midfielders Oswaldo Minda and Agustín Pelletieri figure to be even more important this week as Chivas USA look to control possession once again -- something they accomplished the previous three weeks against the Portland Timbers (away), Seattle Sounders (home) and Earthquakes (away), but without much to show for it.
“We’re still not quite there yet because we’ve been suffering goals every game,” Cabrera said. “We need to create options. We’re not scoring goals, but we have to continue pushing the players. We all know that and we’re working on it.
“We have to push our forwards and offensive midfielders, and we have to start thinking better to be sharp in front of goal.”
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Perhaps the Goats can take solace in the fact that the Dynamo also struggled last month, earning only two points from five matches and getting blanked on three occasions. They were held scoreless for 335 consecutive minutes before finding the net last week against Portland.
But the Rojiblancos, whose 1-2-1 home record this year amounts to the worst percentage in the league, know they will have to work through the absences of Kennedy and Rosales, who leads the team with three assists.
“The team has improved in some aspects and the expectation is that it will lead to some results quickly,” Pelletieri told reporters. “If not, [our goals] will be too far out.”