The road warriors of Chivas USA will face one of their great demons from the past as they travel on Saturday to their own personal house of horrors: Robertson Stadium.
The Goats will take on the Dynamo on Saturday (8:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online) at a place where Chivas USA have struggled mightily, failing to register a goal in five years. While the drought does create a cause for concern, the new-look Chivas USA under head coach Robin Fraser are continuing to ignore the past.
“We’re not focusing on what has happened before, we’re solely focused on tomorrow’s game,” Zemanski told MLSsoccer.com over the phone on Friday. “We know that’ll be a battle, we know that they play on a small field and will be physical so we’re preparing ourselves for a tough game.”
The Goats will be boosted by the return of their captain, forward Alejandro Moreno, who will likely be playing in his last match in red-and-white for awhile before departing with his native Venezuela for preparations for the Copa América in July. Moreno missed last week’s MLS action while with La Vinotinto, serving as a second-half substitute in a friendly against Guatemala and going 71 minutes on Tuesday against World champions Spain.
With Moreno returning to action with Chivas, it seems that the forward will once again be placed in the starting lineup, with Justin Braun looking the most likely to start from the bench. Moreno’s return should do a great deal for the Rojiblancos as they look to finally score at Robertson.
“He’s one of the greatest at holding up the ball that I’ve ever played with,” said Zemanski. “He’s constantly looking for pockets where he can and it doesn’t matter if the ball is played to his feet or his chest, he’s always there playing a fast ball to goes moving forward. It’s very important for us to have him back so that we can find balls off of him and look underneath, which allows everyone to get forward.”
In addition to the return of Moreno, it appears that another Chivas USA veteran, Paulo Nagamura, will continue to start in the midfield. Nagamura went 81 minutes against Portland in his first start in nearly a month-and-a-half. In his first action since overcoming a calf strain, Nagamura’s passing and poise on the ball was vital to leading the Rojiblancos to their second home victory of the season.
The versatile Zemanski, who has seen a great deal of time in that defensive midfield role, admits that having Nagamura back in action has done wonders for the team’s play as well as their confidence.
“He brings bite, making big tackles and moving all over the field,” said Zemanski. “He’s always creative with the ball and looking for impact passes forward and that helps us a lot."
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter: @adamserrano