Vancouver Whitecaps FC return home to Empire Field where they will meet Chivas USA for the first time. Unbeaten at home for the campaign, Whitecaps FC are coming off a 3-1 loss last weekend at Houston. Chivas USA have followed two losses with two draws, last playing to a scoreless result at home with the Columbus Crew.
REFEREE: Jorge Gonzalez. SAR (bench): Fabio Tovar; JAR (opposite): Jeff Hosking; 4th: Alejandro Mariscal MLS Career: 53 games; FC/gm: 24.7; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 17; pens: 15
INJURY REPORT: VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC – OUT: MF Michael Nanchoff (groin strain); DF Greg Janicki (R hip contusion); QUESTIONABLE: DF Jay DeMerit (groin strain); MF Terry Dunfield (groin strain); MF Shea Salinas (R knee sprain); MF John Thorrington (R calf strain) ... CHIVAS USA – OUT: FW Tristan Bowen (L ankle sprain); MF Blair Gavin (L hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Jimmy Conrad(concussion); MF Paulo Nagamura (L calf strain); MF Mariano Trujillo (L/R hamstring strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: VAN: Gershon Koffie (Ghana U-20)
ALL-TIME: First meeting.
RETURN MATCH: 6/1: Chivas USA vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 7:30 p.m. PT
- Coaches record: Teitur Thordarson v CHV: First game ... Robin Fraser vs. VAN: First game
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC saw their winless streak extended to four games, falling 3-1 to the Houston Dynamo on Sunday evening at Robertson Stadium. Whitecaps FC have 5 points from 5 matches, sitting in a fourth-place tie in the Western Conference to start the week.
- The game burst into life late in the first half with three goals in a five-minute span. The Dynamo took the lead in the 37th minute when Cam Weaver pounced on a Brad Davis corner kick that Bobby Boswell had flicked on.
- Whitecaps FC pulled even barely a minute later. Winger Davide Chiumiento slipped a ball through to Camilo after spinning away from the Dynamo defense. The Brazilian striker put a point blank shot over Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall’s right shoulder.
- Boswell restored the Dynamo margin in the 42nd minute. After a corner kick was cleared, Danny Cruz's cross found the center back behind the pulled-up Vancouver back line and he knocked a shot past ‘keeper Jay Nolly.
- Houston finished off the match in the the 76th minute. Rookie Will Bruin beat Nolly to a through ball as the 'keeper raced off his line, skipping around him and sliding the ball into the back of the net for his first professional goal.
- Whitecaps FC head coach Teitur Thordarson made three changes to the team that drew 1-1 with the New England Revolution at Empire Field. Jay DeMerit came into the back four and Davide Chiumiento and Jeb Brovsky into the midfield, with Gershon Koffie suspended and Wes Knight and Terry Dunfield injured.
- VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-4-2): Jay Nolly - Jonathan Leathers, Michael Boxall, Jay DeMerit (Russell Teibert 46), Blake Wagner - Davide Chiumiento, Jeb Brovsky, Alain Rochat, Nizar Khalfan (Mouloud Akloul 79) - Atiba Harris, Camilo (Omar Salgado 84)
- Camilo pulled into the Whitecaps FC team lead with his goal at Houston. Camilo joined Eric Hassli with three goals for the season; the Swiss striker was suspended after receiving his second red card of the year.
- After missing three consecutive games, U.S. international center back Jay DeMerit was able to return to the lineup in Houston. But he played only the first half, reaggravating a groin injury suffered on national team duty.
- “I went through three days of full training with absolutely no issues and I felt great,” DeMerit said to The Province. "Hopefully, one day, you get through 90 minutes. It didn't happen, unfortunately, and I'm obviously very disappointed because on the second goal I feel it again and leave guys onside and they go and score. At that point, you put your hand up."
- Omar Salgado, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 SuperDraft, made his professional debut for Whitecaps FC, coming on in the 84th minute of the 3-1 loss at Houston. Salgado, from El Paso, Texas, saw his first action in front of a number of family and friends.
- “I think Omar did well when he came on,” said Thordarson. “He didn’t have too many goal situations, but he gets into the team and works very hard.”
- Alain Rochat started a third different position for Whitecaps FC, beginning the game in central midfield – a position he said he had not played since last year with Swiss outfit FC Zürich. With DeMerit’s departure, Rochat moved back to central defense; he’s also played left back.
- “It was a hard game and it was like they were one step before us all the time,” Rochat said. “When you are always running after the ball, it is not easy to create some chances.”
- Center back Mouloud Akloul played the final 11 minutes to make his MLS debut for Vancouver. He broke his ankle last season playing for the USSF D-II Whitecaps and was re-signed a couple of weeks ago.
- Rookie Jeb Brovsky was given the start in central midfield ahead of Kevin Harmse, with concerns about the latter’s lack of fitness after being signed after the start of the season.
- The ‘Caps are happy to Hassli again available after suspension with their current injury crisis; Gershon Koffie, also suspended for the Houston match, is on international duty. “The situation is bad, that we can’t get over these injuries,” Thordarson said.
Chivas USA gained a point for a second successive week, playing to a scoreless draw with the Columbus Crew on Saturday evening at The Home Depot Center. Chivas USA have 2 points from 4 games on the season, sitting in eighth place in the Western Conference.
- Each goalkeeper made two saves, saving the best for late in the match. In the 74th minute, Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy tipped aside Eddie Gaven's breakaway chance at full stretch.
- Chivas USA nearly took the lead five minutes later, but Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer was well positioned to stop Nick LaBrocca free chance. Hesmer later stopped a last-minute header from Chivas defender Heath Pearce.
- Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser made one change to the team that played to a 1-1 draw with Toronto FC at BMO Field. Zarek Valentin came back from international duty into the back four for Andrew Boyens.
- CHIVAS USA (4-1-3-2): Dan Kennedy - Michael Lahoud, Zarek Valentin, Heath Pearce, Ante Jazic - Ben Zemanski - Nick LaBrocca, Marcos Mondaini (Gerson Mayen 68), Jorge Flores (Victor Estupinan 80) - Alejandro Moreno, Justin Braun
- After opening the season with back-to-back losses, Chivas USA have rebounded with back-to-back draws and started the week ahead of the Portland Timbers in the Western Conference.
- “We feel like at times we've been good enough to win games and probably let a few games get away from us,” coach Robin Fraser said. “Tonight, we probably could have stolen the game, or they could have stolen the game. I felt like maybe we weren't as aggressive as we needed to be, and at the end, maybe a draw is a fair result.”
- Making his second start of the season, Dan Kennedy recorded the shutout in Chivas USA’s scoreless draw with Columbus. It was Kennedy’s first shutout since Oct. 11, 2008.
- “A shutout's good,” said midfielder Nick LaBrocca. “That's definitely something we wanted to get out of this game. That's No. 1. Obviously, with a win, but you've got to start somewhere, I guess, and a shutout's huge. Something to definitely build on.”
- The two shutouts have come since Kennedy took over for Zach Thornton between the posts, after the veteran of the MLS inaugural season conceded four goals in the opening two games.
- “He’s had a run of games because he’s been pretty good, so would I say that he’s No. 1? At the moment yes, because he’s the one that’s starting, but I think there is a healthy competition between goalkeepers right now,” Fraser said.
- Recently returned from international duty with the U.S. U-20 national team, Zarek Valentin was inserted directly into central defense.
- “As a young defender, it’s on the job training and you’ve got to learn very quickly," Fraser said. "And there were a lot of lessons to be learned from this match, some that he picked up on and some that he didn’t."
- Michael Lahoud again reprised his role at right back after making his first start of the season, March 26 vs. Colorado, in a holding midfield role. “I think he's tailor-made to be an outside back,” Fraser said to ESPNLosAngeles.com.