THE HOME DEPOT CENTER
7 pm PT (FSN-W; Altitude)
Chivas USA and the Colorado Rapids face off for the second time this season in a real six-pointer at the foot of the Western Conference table. Chivas USA haven't won in more than a month, though they do have two ties in their last three games since Thomas Rongen was relieved of his duties. The Colorado Rapids had gone five games without a win and more than five hours without a goal until surviving two red cards - playing two men down for a half-hour - in a midweek win against the Los Angeles Galaxy.
REFEREE: Terry Vaughn. SAR (bench): Greg Barkey; JAR (opposite): Emiliano Monje; 4th: Jorge Reyes
MLS Career: 52 games; FC/gm: 31.6; Y/gm: 3.8; R: 13; pens: 15
Games involving Chivas USA: P1 W1 L0 T0; FC/gm: 22.0; Y/gm: 5.0; R: 0; pens: 1
Games involving Rapids: P7 W3 L3 T1; FC/gm: 28.9; Y/gm: 4.0; R: 3; pens: 2
INJURY REPORT: CHIVAS USA - OUT: DF Alfonso Loera (R calf strain) ... COLORADO RAPIDS - OUT: MF Terry Cooke (R knee); FW Eugene Sepuya (R hamstring contusion); QUESTIONABLE: GK Byron Foss (L groin); FW Jean-Philippe Peguero (L ankle); MF Matt Crawford (R quadriceps strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: COL: DF Hunter Freeman (USA U-20; FIFA World Youth Championship)
SUSPENDED: COL: MF Pablo Mastroeni (through June 18); DF Guy Melamed (through June 18)
YELLOW PERIL: CHV: MF Hector Cuadros (17 CP) ... COL: Nat Borchers (20 CP)
ALL-TIME (1 meeting): Rapids 1 win, 2 goals ... Chivas USA 0 wins, 1 goal ... 0 draws
AT CARSON: first meeting
This is the second meeting between the teams, the second of four between the Western Conference rivals. After this first meeting at The Home Depot Center on June 18, they'll meet twice in 10 days at season's end - Sept. 24 in Carson and Oct. 5 in Denver.
Coaches record: Fernando Clavijo v CHV: P1 W1 L0 T0... Hans Westerhof vs. COL: first game
The Rapids hit for the winning goal after being put a man down in a 2-1 victory at home against Chivas USA on May 14.
Super-sub Jeff Cunningham again came to the rescue of the Rapids after the home side was reduced to 10 men. Chris Henderson gave the Rapids the lead in the 31st minute when he converted from the penalty spot after defender Alfonso Loera was adjudged to have handled the ball in the area.
But another Chivas center back, Ryan Suarez, pulled the expansion club level with a truly stunning strike, stepping forward to collect a square pass before hitting a swerving shot from all of 25 yards that sailed past Joe Cannon into the upper left-hand corner (66).
Rapids right back Hunter Freeman was sent off in the 73rd minute for a harsh tackle on Francisco Mendoza, but just five minutes later Cunningham hit for his fourth goal of the campaign - all after coming on as a sub - when he neatly finished off a Jean-Philippe Peguero that left him alone in the area.
Chivas then apparently equalized in the dying moments in a bizarre sequence. The Rapids had kicked the ball out to allow a Chivas injury to be attended to, and then after Chivas threw the ball back to Cannon, Chivas forward Isaac Romo slipped in to intercept and fired the ball into the empty net. But referee Ricardo Valenzuela disallowed the goal for ungentlemanly conduct.
Here's Fernando Clavijo's team (4-4-2): Joe Cannon - Hunter Freeman, Nat Borchers, Ritchie Kotschau, Ricky Lewis - Chris Henderson (Jeff Cunningham 61), Kyle Beckerman (Alain Nkong 71), Guy Melamed, Eric Denton - Luchi Gonzalez, Jean Philippe Peguero (Leo Cullen 83).
Here's Thomas Rongen's team (4-2-3-1): Brad Guzan - Ezra Hendrickson, Alfonso Loera (Matt Taylor 83), Ryan Suarez, Armando Begines (Arturo Torres 63) - Orlando Perez, Douglas Sequeira - Hector Cuadros, Ramon Ramirez, Francisco Mendoza - Thiago Martins (Isaac Romo 68)
Chivas USA saw their winless run extended but still came away with a second draw in three games, coming back to claim a share of the points in a 1-1 result with the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday evening at The Home Depot Center. Chivas USA are still at the foot the Western Conference with six points from 13 matches, now five points behind fifth-place Colorado Rapids and 18 adrift of West leader FC Dallas.
Chivas USA saw their winless run reach seven matches, but still 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 (40).
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.
In his second game in charge, Chivas USA head coach Hans Westerhof made two changes from the team that lost 5-2 to FC Dallas the previous weekend. Brad Guzan returned as first-choice 'keeper, while Douglas Sequeira returned to the lineup in place of Francisco Gomez in central midfield.
Here's Westerhof's team (3-1-3-3): Brad Guzan - Alfonso Loera, Ryan Suarez (Arturo Torres 76), Armando Begines - Douglas Sequeira - Ezra Hendrickson, Antonio Martinez (Hector Cuadros 61), Ramon Ramirez (Orlando Perez 84)- Thiago Martins, Isaac Romo, Francisco Mendoza
"A coach is never satisfied," Westerhof said. "I think it was a nice game but we needed two more points," Westerhof said. "I have a feeling that we lost two points. We needed it badly and we had our chances but we gave it away the last five minutes before halftime."
After being removed from the starting lineup four matches previously, Brad Guzan returned between the posts for Chivas. His replacement, Martin Zuñiga gave up five goals in his first and last starts and surrendered 13 total goals in his four starts. Over that stretch of games, Chivas USA recorded just a draw; in Guzan's last four starts, the club has won one and drawn one, including Sunday.
"I felt comfortable just like before I stopped playing," Guzan said. "I was starting to feel comfortable (before then) and (Sunday) was kind of the same thing for me. I just had to play my game and not have to worry about (anything)."
Said Westerhof: "I told them that I needed to see more of all the players. I saw Martin Zuñiga in three or four games then I wanted to see Brad. I also sat Hector Cuadros and [Francisco] Gomez, not because they played bad, but to use all my options and that's why I tried some changes in the starting lineup today. ... Now this is the moment to see Brad in a couple of games."
Chivas were pleased to have recovered at least point, and said the match could now be a turning point. They are still within touching distance of the final playoff place. "We need a little bit more time to play better football," Westerhof said. "Until then, we need hearts. I'm pleased they fight back. It's not so easy to do that after playing 12 games and won only one. It's a good experience, losing and to come back."
Said Hendrickson: "The way the season has been going, that's a game that we might have lost because our luck has been that bad. Hopefully, it's a (turning point) and maybe we get some things to go our way and we start to get some victories."
At the end, Westerhof made what considered a desperation move to claim the full three points. He took out defender Ryan Suarez in favor of striker Arturo Torres, a move that left Begines and Alfonso Loera solely responsible for San Jose's Moreno and Ronald Cerritos. "It's always a risk when you play against a team with two quick strikers," Westerhof said. "We played one against one without a libero but we had to do it."
"That's desperation for us," Hendrickson said. "We know that we cannot afford to lose many more games, especially in our home. When we're at home, we want to win every game. That's what it's going for us to take the playoffs. Tonight we were fortunate to come back and get a tie but that's not something that we're satisfied with. We needed the maximum three points."
The Colorado Rapids put an end to their five-game winless streak with a remarkable performance, holding on to defeat the Los Angeles Galaxy 1-0 on Wednesday night in Denver. The Rapids moved into a tie for fourth place in the Western Conference with Real Salt Lake, now with 11 points from 13 matches, four behind the San Jose Earthquakes in fourth place and five points ahead of last-place Chivas USA.
The Rapids survived playing two men down for the final half-hour and rode an early penalty for their first victory in just more than a month (since May 14).
The Rapids took the lead after nine minutes when Cobi Jones clipped Jeff Cunningham in the area, and the veteran striker took his own penalty, putting it high past Kevin Hartman. It was his fifth goal on the campaign, but his first while in the starting lineup, and the first for the Rapids in 320 minutes.
But the Rapids went a man down just nine minutes later after Pablo Mastroeni was sent off for a flying tackle on opposite number Paulo Nagamura, then on the hour, Guy Melamed was also sent off for a two-footed tackle on Nagamura close to the top of the Galaxy box.
The Rapids survived an incredible sequence late in the match, a couple of balls hooked away from the goalmouth and Joe Cannon sticking out a toe to somehow deny Landon Donovan from close range. Cannon was credited with seven saves in making his fifth shutout of the season.
Rapids coach Fernando Clavijo made four changes to the team that lost 1-0 to Columbus the previous Saturday. Leo Cullen and Luchi Gonzalez came into the midfield along with Guy Melamed, as Matt Crawford, Kyle Beckerman and left back Ritchie Kotschau all returned to the substitutes' bench. Jean Philippe Peguero came into attack for Wolde Harris.
Here's Clavijo's team (4-4-2): Joe Cannon - Ricky Lewis, Nat Borchers, Mike Petke, Eric Denton - Leo Cullen, Pablo Mastroeni, Guy Melamed, Luchi Gonzalez (Alain Nkong 70) - Jean Philippe Peguero (Dan Gargan 76), Jeff Cunningham (Kyle Beckerman 63)
"I'm very proud, the emotions I'm going through right now, we don't need to fight that hard, a lot of stuff happened on the field that was unjustified. It's sad that my players had put up with so much to come out with three points," said Clavijo.
It was another wild game between the Rapids and Galaxy this season. In the first meeting, the game saw three penalties called in the final five minutes - two for L.A. - as the Galaxy claimed a 3-2 home victory.
"I feel exhausted to be honest with you, to tell you the truth I was waiting for a penalty against us or something at the end there. Again, we just demonstrated that we come out to play, but then everything starts happening against us we had to pick it up. The red card to Pablo [Mastroeni] got us up and running again. But the other one to [Guy] Melamed, he slipped, no intent what so ever and they're going to see it when they watch the tapes, but it's too late now. Every game is like the boys are excited and they work their hearts out," said Clavijo.
Said Joe Cannon: "Well you can't really blame the refs out in L.A. for this officiating here, and you don't want to place everything on the refs, but it does seem like every time we play them (Galaxy) the rivalry gets better and I do feel like tonight the red cards and the penalty kick added to it. I'm just glad we got the three points."
While Peguero was able to start, midfielder Matt Crawford wasn't able to pass a late fitness test, and Terry Cooke is still out. Clavijo obviously will now be out two more midfielders for the trip to Carson.
"We started taking names down, we might have to contact Uruguay or some place else to get players to fill in, I don't know. It's one of the things, we put in Gargan and he stepped up very well for us. That is the good thing about the reserve games, that's where the reserve games come in very handy, the games that they play; we need them for some of the younger kids now to develop, they will be given a responsibility to step in and do the job," said Clavijo.
Cannon was named Man of the Match for his performance where he made seven saves, but it was some desperate defending at the end - no save bigger than one on Donovan were he was all alone in the goal area.
"It was just a scramble you know, I think that some nights those go in and some nights they don't. I remember Landon point blank and I just put out my toe and that's it - everyone always asks me about my big feet and that's a prime example of making a save with them right there," Cannon said. "I'm just very happy to get a result, I think this team needs it, we're tied with Salt Lake and that's the most important thing in the overall picture, we're tied for a playoff spot. We've got some tough teams ahead, but it's good to beat one of the top teams in the conference."
The win was the first for the Rapids in more than a month. Their last victory came at home on May 14 against Chivas USA. With a road game at Chivas looming this weekend, the Rapids hope that the momentum from this win can carry them forward.
"It's the type of game and situation that you build on," said center back Mike Petke. "If we take nothing else from it, it's that we came together tonight and got three points and hopefully we can go into Chivas and get another three points."