OUT: DF Bobby Burling (sports hernia surgery); GK Dan Kennedy (R knee sprain); FW Ante Razov (R ankle surgery); DF Claudio Suárez (L calf strain); DF Lawson Vaughn (L ankle surgery); MF Sasha Victorine (L knee surgery); DOUBTFUL: FW Alecko Eskandarian (L hip strain); DF Ante Jazic (concussion); PROBABLE: FW Michael Lahoud (concussion) ... COLUMBUS CREW -- OUT: MF Pat Noonan (lower back strain); FW Jason Garey (R ankle sprain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
HEAD-TO-HEADALL-TIME (8 meetings): Chivas USA 4 wins, 12 goals ... Crew 2 wins, 10 goals ... Ties 2
AT CHIVAS USA (4 meetings): Chivas USA 3 wins, 6 goals ... Crew 1 wins, 4 goals ... Ties 0
RETURN MATCH: 6/14: Chivas USA at Columbus Crew, 3 p.m. ET
LAST YEAR (MLS):
4/12: CLB 4, CHV 3 (Schelotto 26; Moreno 35; Rogers 71, 82 - Kljestan 33; Marsch 72; Nagamura 78)
5/31: CHV 2, CLB 0 (Flores 19; Marsch 21)
After the first year of Chivas USA's existence, when the road team won in each meeting between the clubs that season, the visiting team has not won since.
Chivas USA has won the last three meetings between the teams at The Home Depot Center, scoring six goals and allowing just one.
The Crew's victory against Chivas USA at Crew Stadium last year was their first ever in Columbus. Chivas USA had won their first trip to the ground (in 2005), then the teams played to draws in each of the next two seasons.
Coaches record: Preki vs. CLB: P4 W2 L1 D1 ... Robert Warzycha v CHV: P2 W1 L1 D0
CHIVAS USAChivas USA has started a season 2-0 for the first time in club history, after coming away from FC Dallas with a 2-0 victory last Sunday at Pizza Hut Park. Chivas is one of two teams still perfect on the season entering the weekend, atop the Western Conference on six points with Seattle Sounders FC.
Chivas USA were coming off a season-opening home win against Colorado, facing an FC Dallas side that had lost its home opener against Chicago.
A pair of newcomers made the difference for the visitors after the break. First, youngster Gerson Mayen hit a looping ball over the top of the FCD defense, and Mexican striker Eduardo Lillingston raced onto it before lashing home a drive on the half-turn inside the right post for his first MLS goal (56).
Then a quarter-hour from the end, Bojan Stepanovic - signed to a contract just the day before - latched onto a loose ball in midfield, raced in the penalty area past a couple of defenders and hit a low strike inside the left-hand post for his first MLS goal and condemning FCD to an 0-2 start to the season for the first time in club history.
Chivas USA head coach Preki made one change to the team that defeated the Colorado Rapids 2-1 in the season opener. With Sacha Kljestan away on international duty, Gerson Mayen made his full professional debut on the left of midfield.
Here's Preki's team (4-4-2): Zach Thornton - Mariano Trujillo, Carey Talley, Shavar Thomas, Jonathan Bornstein - Atiba Harris, Jesse Marsch, Paulo Nagamura, Gerson Mayen (Jorge Flores 81) - Justin Braun, Eduardo Lillingston (Bojan Stepanovic 69). Substitutes Not Used: Jim Curtin, Maykel Galindo, Michael Lahoud, Lance Parker
"It was a funny first half. We were OK for the first 25 minutes then Dallas got a lot of momentum and moved the ball up and down the field. Both teams were getting chances and luckily for us they didn't score before halftime. So we talked about that whole thing at halftime and made sure that we were a little more compact and that they didn't get much space in between the midfield and defensive lines," Preki said. "You have to give our guys credit. In the second half it was a very good and professional performance by us. The way we got the first goal and afterwards. And after the second goal, we stayed very compact and we didn't give Dallas very many looks."
With Sacha Kljestan away with the U.S. national team, Gerson Mayen was given his full professional debut for Chivas. Mayen came into the Chivas youth system in 2006, then signed a developmental contract before the start of the 2008 season. He made only appearances in the reserve team in his first year as a professional, playing all 12 reserve matches.
"He did a pretty decent job. He's a young player who is in his second year with us from the youth academy. He's grown a lot in the last year and this year we're hoping he can get some minutes. He did a decent job today and helped us get some points," Preki said.
"For a young guy, Mayen has really stepped in," said Chivas USA captain Jesse Marsch. "He came from our youth system a year ago and you could see he was a talented kid. This year specifically, throughout preseason and through the beginning of the season now, he's kind of impressed a lot of guys on our team and shown that he deserves to be here and is going to challenge for spots on the field."
After being taken off for a substitute in his first MLS game, Eduardo Lillingston opened his Chivas USA account with a well-taken goal.
"It's better, I think the whole team played better this week. When the whole team plays better we're hoping that he plays better," Preki said. "We knew that he had experience in Mexico and he's played quite a few games and we're hoping that he can come here and help us be better. I'm really happy that he got his first goal in MLS today."
Chivas got the second goal from Bojan Stepanovic, signed to a contract during the week of the FCD match. The 26-year-old Belgrade-born Stepanovic spent time with sides FK Srem and FK Vozdovac in the Serbian first division, one division below Serbia's Superliga, before coming to MLS.
"When we scored the first goal, Dallas pushed an extra guy in the midfield and it was difficult for us to defend with an extra guy in the midfield. So we decided to take him out and put an extra guy in the middle so we can be sure that we caught the guy," Preki said. "One of those plays when Justin Braun and Purdy collided and the ball was loose and he was sharp enough to get to it and finished pretty good."
It was the second week in a row Chivas USA got stronger in the second half to gain the victory. In the opener, Colorado held a halftime lead before Paulo Nagamura scored twice in a five-minute span.
"You know I was proud of our group for having a good start. Dallas started to go a little bit, Kenny Cooper was getting some space and some chances. I felt our team kept our composure and didn't panic," Marsch said. "We came in at halftime and addressed some of our issues and we came out in the second half and showed some maturity and I was pretty happy how our team handled the lead as well."
COLUMBUS CREWThe Columbus Crew began their two-game Western swing by suffering their first loss on the season, falling 4-1 to Real Salt Lake in that club's Rio Tinto Stadium opener. The Crew have two points from their first three games, tied for fourth place in the Eastern Conference entering the weekend, two points behind Chicago, Toronto and New England.
Playing in their first home match since last year's Western Conference Championship, Real got off to a dream start. Will Johnson hammered a freekick toward goal, and while Columbus 'keeper William Hesmer parried the effort, it fell right to Robbie Findley, who banged home the rebound.
The Crew pulled level in the 22nd minute. From a short corner, Gino Padula swung in a high cross that Clint Mathis couldn't clear, and it fell right to the feet of Jason Garey, who knocked into the open side of the goal.
But RSL were ahead again just seven minutes later, and again it was Findley. This time, a poorly hit clearance from Hesmer from a backpass went right to Findley, and he raced in alone on goal, rounding Hesmer before sliding the ball into the open goal.
Real made it 3-1 in the 62nd minute. Yura Movsisyan was freed down the left and swung in a cross for Findley to head home, giving him his first career hat trick and the first in league play in RSL history.
The home side finished off the rout five minutes later, when Kyle Beckerman powered home a near-post header from a Mathis corner kick.
Crew head coach Robert Warzycha made one change to the team that played to a 1-1 draw with Toronto FC in the Crew's home opener. Robbie Rogers recovered from a hamstring strain to take his place on the left of midfield, in place of rookie Alex Grendi.
Here's Warzycha's team (4-1-3-1-1): William Hesmer - Jed Zayner (Andy Iro 85), Chad Marshall, Danny O'Rourke, Gino Padula (Steven Lenhart 63) - Brian Carroll - Eddie Gaven, Emmanuel Ekpo, Robbie Rogers (Alejandro Moreno 63) - Guillermo Barros Schelotto - Jason Garey. Substitutes Not Used: Cory Elenio, Alex Grendi, Andy Gruenebaum, Duncan Oughton
"Obviously you talk about not giving up goals in the beginning of the game. That was a bad goal to give up in the second minute, and in the second minute that changes the game, which is very difficult especially away from home," Warzycha said. "Two early goals change the game and you saw that. Especially in the second half, we couldn't get anything going."
A year ago, the Crew began their season with six victories in their first seven games. While they did endure a club-record 370-minute goalless drought, they didn't fail to win in back-to-back games until Weeks 8 and 9 of the season.
"I think we have to forget as soon as possible that we were the champions last year. We need to forget about it, start to work hard and get some results," Warzycha said.
Columbus had not allowed four goals in a game since May 19, 2007, a 4-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls.
"We didn't play very good team defense, from the guys in the front all the way to the guys in the back. We had too many gaps, and that made it very easy for them to play," said Eddie Gaven.
The four goals allowed by Hesmer were a career-high, and he took blame for conceding the eventual game-winner.
"It was a good backpass," he said. "I just went to hit it and mis-hit it. That's the bottom line. I'm there to keep our team in the game, not put us behind the 8-ball. This game's on me. A home opener, you can't be giving goals away, keep giving them momentum."
Warzycha felt his team showed enough in the first half to get a result, only to let it get away after the break. "In the first half, we battled. We tried to play good soccer," he said. "I think if we continue to play the same as in the first half, we're going to be fine."
Warzycha had all three of his internationals back for the RSL match, though only one featured. Alejandro Moreno, who played the entire match in Venezuela's 2-0 victory against Colombia and also suffered a violent foul that led to Colombia's Abel Aguilar being sent off, came on in the 63rd minute of the Real match.
Duncan Oughton, who did play in New Zealand's match Wednesday against Thailand 'A', was an unused substitute, while Frankie Hejduk, who played the entire 90 minutes in both of the USA's World Cup qualifiers, was not included in the 18-man gameday roster.