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CHIVAS USA v NEW YORK RED BULLS
THE HOME DEPOT CENTER, Carson, Calif.
7 p.m. PT (Azteca America; MSG)
April 29, 2006 (WEEK #5) / MLS Game #27
The New York Red Bulls travel to The Home Depot Center to face Chivas USA and head coach Bob Bradley - who of course was let go by the then-MetroStars at the tail end of last season. Both Bradley and his successor - Mo Johnston - are looking to shake off a run of tough results: Chivas has lost two in a row after a promising season-opening win, while the Red Bulls have yet to win at all this season, though they lost for the first time last weekend.
REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda. SAR (bench): Tom Supple; JAR (opposite): Kyle Borne; 4th: Shane Moody
MLS Career: 7 games; FC/gm: 36.4; Y/gm: 3.9; R: 2; pens: 2
MLS 2006: first game
Games involving Chivas USA: P1 W1 L0 T0; FC/gm: 36.0; Y/gm: 4.0; R: 0; pens: 1
Games involving Red Bulls: P1 W1 L0 T0; FC/gm: 40.0; Y/gm: 4.0; R: 0; pens: 0
INJURY REPORT: CHIVAS USA - OUT: MF Francisco Gomez (L knee surgery), FW Matt Taylor (R ankle fracture); MF Ramon Ramirez (L knee sprain); PROBABLE: DF Carlos Llamosa (L hamstring strain) ... NEW YORK RED BULLS - QUESTIONABLE: MF Mark Lisi (R groin strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: CHV: Claudio Suarez (Mexico); FW Estuardo Sanchez; MF Rodrigo López (U.S. U-20 national team) ... NY: FW David Arvizu; FW Josmer Altidore (U.S. U-20 national team)
LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEADThis is the first of two league meetings set between the teams this year, the only one at The Home Depot Center. They will meet at Giants Stadium in less than a month, on May 20.
LAST YEAR (MLS):
ALL-TIME (2 meetings): Chivas USA 0 wins (0 shootout), 3 goals ... Red Bulls 1 wins (0 shootout), 5 goals ... 1 draw
AT CARSON: (1 meetings): Chivas USA 0 wins (0 shootout), 0 goals ... Red Bulls 1 win (0 shootout), 2 goals ... 0 draws
8/21: MET 3, CHV 3 (Guevara 5, 69, 90 - Palencia 17, 22; J. Garcia 39)
10/16: CHV 0, MET 2 (Bradley 49; Guevara 90)
A year ago, the then-MetroStars won the season series. The teams played to a remarkable draw at Giants Stadium, then in the MLS season finale, with the New York needing a victory to gain entry into the MLS Cup Playoffs, Tony Meola made a number of remarkable saves before two goals in a 12-minute span sent the Metros into the playoffs.
Coaches record: Bob Bradley v NY: P12 W8 L4 D0 ... Mo Johnston vs. CHV: P1 W1 L0 D0
Chivas USA return to action after a week's layoff following a second successive defeat following a season-opening win, a gut-wrenching 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy on April 15. Chivas USA are in fifth place in the Western Conference with three points from three matches, one behind the Galaxy and Colorado Rapids, and seven adrift of West leader FC Dallas.
LAST MATCHThe Galaxy did not lose a single Super Clasico to "little brother" Chivas USA a year ago, winning all four league meetings as well as a U.S. Open Cup match. In fact, when Ante Razov turned home a pull-back from Juan Pablo Garcia seconds after the second-half restart, it was the first time ever Chivas had held a lead over the Galaxy.
But the Galaxy rescued the victory in dramatic fashion, Donovan creating both goals for Glen, acquired just last week from Colorado. In the 84th minute, a long throw-in was won in a heading duel in the Chivas penalty area by Donovan, and Glen was there to sweep the ball home for the equalizer.
Then four minutes into a scheduled seven minutes of stoppage time, then two struck again. Donovan set off on a mazy run through the heart of the Chivas defense, drifting to the right before swinging in a low cross that Glen got onto the end, slamming a first-time volley to the back of the net to keep the Galaxy perfect against their in-stadium tenants.
Chivas head coach Bob Bradley made no changes to the team that lost 2-0 to D.C. United on April 8 at RFK Stadium.
Here's Bradley's team (4-4-2): Brad Guzan - Lawson Vaughn, Tim Regan, Claudio Suarez, Jonathan Bornstein - Juan Pablo Garcia, Sacha Kljestan, Jesse Marsch, Francisco Mendoza (John O'Brien 85) - Juan Francisco Palencia, Ante Razov. [Substitutes Not Used: Preston Burpo, Drew Helm, Ezra Hendrickson, Jason Hernandez, Orlando Perez, Brent Whitfield]
"I thought that we came out strong in the second half. I thought that we played quite well and we had a chance to go up two goals and didn't finish the game. That is an important part of our progress and we are disappointed," Bradley said.
TEAM NEWSThe loss put Chivas USA's effort in perspective. A thrilling 3-0 win over Real Salt Lake to start the season has been met with a pair of losses as Chivas fell to 1-2.
"No one said we were world beaters yet," Razov said. "It's a process so we've got to learn from this. It's good that we take a bad taste in our mouths for the next two weeks. It does make you angry a little bit which it should."
Bradley insists the visit of the New York Red Bulls will have extra significance only because of the desire to overcome the two successive losses, not because he is facing the club that released him three games before the end of last season with the team's qualification for the MLS Cup Playoffs still in the balance.
"This game is circled on my calendar now because we made it extra important with the fact that we let two games get away from us," said Bradley.
Still, Bradley is bothered by the way the entire situation was handled by then-MetroStars president Alexi Lalas - who is, ironically, now just down the hall as president and general manager of the Los Angeles Galaxy.
"I put my heart and soul into what I do," Bradley said. "I try to create an environment where the players push each other, where we're all in something together. That's the way I was in Chicago and that's absolutely what we're doing here (with Chivas USA). ... I know the work that was put in. I know that the players that were on the inside (in New York) feel the same way. That's the reason. The way it was handled will not ever sit right with me."
There also could be a big hole to fill in the Chivas back line as Claudio Suarez is gone and might not return until July. The 37-year-old left after the Galaxy match to join the Mexican national team's pre-World Cup training camp. If Suarez is among the 23 of the camp's 26 players to make the cut, he will represent Mexico in a FIFA World Cup for the third time and will be out of action through mid-July.
Carlos Llamosa seems to be the chief candidate to replace Suarez in the heart of the Chivas defense. "I am ready," Llamosa said. "I'm still trying to regain my match fitness and get at the same fitness level as the rest of the team but I think that I'll be ready to start the game on the 29th if I am called on."
There is also the possibility Bradley could go with three in the back. Chivas USA saw another defender depart this week, as Ezra Hendrickson was dealt to the Columbus Crew for a conditional draft pick in next year's SuperDraft.
"We'll see how it goes from game to game," Bradley said. "When we played with both three and four, I thought a number of those guys did well in the preseason."
NEW YORK RED BULLS
The New York Red Bulls remained winless on the 2006 season although they lost for the first time this year, falling 4-1 to D.C. United last Saturday at Giants Stadium. The Red Bulls are in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with three points from their first four matches, one behind the New England Revolution and Columbus Crew and one ahead of the Chicago Fire.
LAST MATCHD.C. United equaled the best start to a season in club history while keeping their Atlantic Cup rivals winless on the year and putting a disappointing finish on a tumultuous week for Red Bull New York.
Eskandarian hit for his double on either side of halftime. He gave United the lead on 41 minutes when Freddy Adu's cross from the left was poorly cleared, ripping a drive back past Tony Meola from inside the area. Then, racing to the United bench, he grabbed a can of Red Bull, took a swig and spit it out on the artificial turf.
Just before the hour he doubled United's lead, finishing off a lovely tic-tac-toe passing sequence. Brian Carroll found Ben Olsen, who completed the triangulation by putting Eskandarian into the area, and he hammered a left-footed strike over Meola into the roof of the goal for his third on the season (59).
United made it 3-0 in the 71st minute on a wonder goal from Facundo Erpen, his long-range attempt from all of 35 yards sailing over Meola and just under the crossbar in the right-hand corner of his goal. It was already the second goal of the season from the Argentinean center back.
Youri Djorkaeff pulled a goal back for the Red Bulls in the 86th minute, running onto a nice through ball from Mike Magee and putting a low drive past Troy Perkins from just inside the area and ending United's scoreless streak at 338 minutes since allowing two goals in the first 18 minutes of the season to the Red Bulls.
But it took United just two minutes to restore the margin, Carroll steaming up the left flank before slipping an angled pass into the box that Walker stabbed home on the run.
Red Bulls coach Mo Johnston made two changes to the team that drew 1-1 with Real Salt Lake the weekend before. With Jeff Parke unavailable, he went to a back three, Mike Magee coming into the midfield for Peter Canero. New acquisition Jean Philippe Peguero - obtained the day before from Colorado - also came into the starting lineup as Youri DJorkaeff dropped into a deeper role.
Here's Johnston's team (3-1-4-2): Tony Meola - Marvell Wynne, Taylor Graham, Carlos Mendes - Danny O'Rourke - Mike Magee, Amado Guevara, Youri Djorkaeff, Chris Henderson (Seth Stammler 65) - Jean Philippe Peguero, Edson Buddle. [Substitutes Not Used: Blake Camp, Peter Canero, Jordan Cila, Jon Conway, Steve Jolley, Joe Vide]
"They come out and it seems like every time they play us they treat it like a big rivalry and it seems like we come out and play like it's any other game," Mike Magee said. "We did well when we played in D.C. the first game of the season, but we just didn't follow up on it."
TEAM NEWSJean Phillipe Peguero made his Red Bulls debut less than 24 hours after being acquired from the Colorado Rapids for striker Thiago Martins and the club's first- and third-round selections in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft. Peguero arrived Saturday at 12:57 p.m. at Newark International Airport and barely three hours later was in the starting lineup against United.
"To come here without practicing with the team was kind of hard because we don't really know each other," said Peguero. "I wanted to play with some other players, especially (Amado) Guevara and (Youri) Djorkaeff and I'm very excited to be here and play with them."
The match also capped a difficult week for the club, which saw Marc de Grandpre announced as the club's managing director after Alexi Lalas joined the Los Angeles Galaxy.
"We've got to stop with the meetings and all the other stuff that goes on. If we meet, it's got to be soccer. If we talk, it's got to be soccer. If we breathe, it's got to be about soccer," Meola said. "We've got to forget about everything else now that's happened. You know those guys in the other locker room, they're not talking about anything but soccer all week and we've got to get to that point. The rest of the stuff has got to stop."
De Grandpre said, despite the coach's feelings earlier in the week, Johnston's status was not in peril. "I met with Mo and as long as I'm the guy right now, he's the guy, the coach," he said.
Said Johnston: "I'm not going to stand here and make excuses. D.C. was the better team. Disappointed, yes, but I'm not going to make excuses. I'll protect my players. Obviously it's been a tough week, but I'm not going to use that as an excuse."