Chicago Fire vs. Chivas USA, Sept. 17, 2011 (image)

Preview: Fire look to rebound against struggling Chivas

Two clubs needing a win to jump back into the playoff fray meet at Toyota Park on Saturday afternoon when the Chicago Fire play host to Chivas USA. The Fire saw their two-game winning streak come to an end at San Jose last weekend, also dropping a midweek to the original Chivas, from Mexico. Chivas USA have lost three games on the trot after a 3-0 defeat by D.C. United last weekend.


REFEREE: Jorge Gonzalez. SAR (bench): Greg Barkey; JAR (opposite): Kermit Quisenberry; 4th: Andrew Chapin
MLS Career: 66 games; FC/gm: 24.5; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 22; pens: 20

INJURY REPORT: CHICAGO FIRE – OUT: DF Steven Kinney (lower abdominal strain); MF Gabriel Ferrari (L knee ACL tear); DF Mike Banner (R ankle sprain); MF Marko Maric (L ankle posterior capsulitis); DOUBTFUL: MF Corben Bone (R knee capsular strain); QUESTIONABLE: MF Sebastian Grazzini (R hamstring tightness); FW Dominic Oduro (R ankle contusion) … CHIVAS USA – OUT: MF Paulo Nagamura (R foot); QUESTIONABLE: DF Heath Pearce (hamstring)

SUSPENDED: CHI: Dan Gargan (caution accumulation; through Sept. 17) … CHV: David Junior Lopes (through Sept. 17)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: CHI: Diego Chaves, Dan Gargan, Cory Gibbs, Dominic Oduro … CHV: Zarek Valentin
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CHI: Yamith Cuesta, Cristian Nazarit, Daniel Paladini, Logan Pause … CHV: Justin Braun, Simon Elliott, Nick LaBrocca, Michael Lahoud, Ben Zemanski

ALL-TIME (13 meetings): Fire 6 wins, 19 goals … Chivas USA 4 wins, 14 goals … Ties 3
AT CHICAGO (6 meetings): Fire 3 wins, 9 goals … Chivas USA 2 wins, 6 goals … Ties 1
•    In the first meeting this season, a goal from Chivas USA’s Nick LaBrocca seconds into the second half canceled out a first-half Dominic Oduro as the teams reached a 1-1 draw, July 2 at The Home Depot Center.
•    Chivas USA have not defeated the Chicago Fire since a 2-0 win, June 19, 2008 at The Home Depot Center. The Fire have won five of the seven meetings in all competitions since, with two draws.
•    The teams also met in SuperLiga a year ago, the Fire taking a 1-0 win at Toyota Park in Group A play.
•    Coaches record: Robin Fraser v CHI: P1 W0 L0 T1 … Frank Klopas vs. CHV: P1 W0 L0 T1

7/2: CHV 1, CHI 1 (LaBrocca 46 – Oduro 26)
•    The Fire opened the scoring in the 26th minute. Patrick Nyarko laid a ball in behind the Chivas USA back line for Dominic Oduro and he simply raced away down the left, clipping the ball past goalkeeper Dan Kennedy from a difficult angle after a 50-yard run.
•    But seconds into the second half Chivas USA found their equalizer when Nick LaBrocca turned at the edge of the area and fired a shot that dipped under the crossbar and beat Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson.
•    CHIVAS USA (4-3-1-2): Dan Kennedy - Michael Lahoud (Mariano Trujillo 92+), Michael Umana, Heath Pearce, Zarek Valentin - Paulo Nagamura (Ben Zemanski 77), Simon Elliott, Jorge Flores - Nick LaBrocca - Justin Braun, Marcos Mondaini (Victor Estupinan 65).
•    CHICAGO FIRE (4-1-4-1): Sean Johnson - Jalil Anibaba, Cory Gibbs, Yamith Cuesta (Josip Mikulic 62), Gonzalo Segares - Logan Pause - Marco Pappa (Cristian Nazarit 64), Baggio Husidic, Diego Chaves (Orr Barouch 74), Dominic Oduro - Patrick Nyarko,

The Chicago Fire saw their two-game winning streak come to an end, falling 2-0 to the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday evening at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Fire have 27 points from 27 matches on the year, sitting in a tie for seventh place in the Eastern Conference.

•    The Earthquakes went ahead in the 10th minute. Rafael Baca unhurriedly collected a throw-in on the left wing and sent a curling ball to the back post where Chris Wondolowski met it with a full-blooded volley that Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson got his right hand to but couldn’t keep out.
•    The Quakes then doubled their lead in the 69th minute when Ramiro Corrales ran onto a return pass from Wondolowski through Khari Stephenson on a give-and-go and slipped in alone on goal, tucking his shot neatly inside the left post.
•    Fire interim head coach Frank Klopas made one change to the team that knocked off the Colorado Rapids 2-0 at Toyota Park. Baggio Husidic came back into the team with Gonzalo Segares suspended.
•    CHICAGO FIRE (4-1-3-2): Sean Johnson - Logan Pause, Cory Gibbs, Jalil Anibaba, Dan Gargan - Pavel Pardo - Marco Pappa (Orr Barouch 72), Sebastian Grazzini, Baggio Husidic (Diego Chaves 60) - Patrick Nyarko, Dominic Oduro.

•    While ending the two-game winning streak in league play, the loss in San Jose also ended the Fire’s three-game winning streak in all competitions.
•    “We weren’t doing enough in the final third. When we did get there our plays were kind of predictable and we weren’t moving the ball well enough and stuff like that,” said Fire interim head coach Frank Klopas. “We tried to push Patrick (Nyarko) and maybe Dominic (Oduro) on the outside, and get the ball to them on the ground. We just didn’t create enough opportunities.”
•    Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson kept the score close early in the second half, stopping a penalty kick from San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski after Jalil Anibaba was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box.
•    “It was one of those things where I had to make my decision and stick with it and I was able to get two hands on it to make the save,” Johnson said. “Wondo is a great finisher and throughout the season he has been able to score a couple of goals. It was one of those things that you’re trying to give your team the best opportunity you can and it was a huge turning point for us to go down in the beginning.”
•    Said Klopas: “He made some great saves. Both goalkeepers did a great job. The first goal was kind of hard for him to save because it was at the back post and we were watching. But other than that I think he showed a lot of maturity. He’s a young player and for him to make those important saves it helped a lot.”
•    After Gonzalo Segares missed the San Jose match through suspension, the Fire will be forced into a change at the other fullback spot with Dan Gargan suspended for the Chivas USA game through caution accumulation.
•    “I thought we were OK,” Gargan said. “I think Gonzalo is obviously a proven left back in this league, so to take a guy out of the lineup that’s played 20 games for us, that hurts. Anytime you change two positions in your back line, it’s going to take some adjusting.”
•    Dominic Oduro again was kept from extending his goalscoring streak to three games; he has four goals in the last six league games, scoring in consecutive games twice. With his next goal he will become the first Fire player to notch 10 goals since Damani Ralph did so in 2004.
•    Before facing Chivas USA, the Fire took a break from league concerns, going down to a 1-0 defeat to Chivas de Guadalajara of Mexico at Toyota Park. Substitute Jorge Mora scored the game’s lone goal from a free kick in the 61st minute.
•    Here’s the Fire team: Sean Johnson (Jon Conway 46); Jalil Anibaba (Dan Gargan 46), Josip Mikulic, Cory Gibbs (Yamith Cuesta 46), Gonzalo Segares (Pari Pantazopoulos 46); Logan Pause (Victor Pineda 46), Pavel Pardo (Michael Videira 46); Marco Pappa (Orr Barouch 46), Baggio Husidic (Daniel Paladini 46), Patrick Nyarko (Cristian Nazarit 46); Diego Chaves (Kellen Gulley 76)
•    Neither Dominic Oduro (ankle) nor Sebastian Grazzini (hamstring) figured, but both should be available at the weekend. “Dom is hurting,” Klopas said. “He came out of the [San Jose] game and his ankle was a little swollen. Sebastian, his hamstring his tight, it’s bothering him a little bit.”

Chivas USA went down to a third consecutive shutout defeat, falling 3-0 to D.C. United on Saturday evening at The Home Depot Center. Chivas USA have 31 points from 28 games on the season, in seventh place in the Western Conference.

•    United took the lead after just 11 minutes. Dwayne De Rosario pounced on a loose ball in the center circle and set Chris Pontius free on the right flank. He raced downfield before driving a low ball across the face of goal that a sliding Charlie Davies hooked into the goal.
•    United doubled their lead just four minutes later. A failed clearance by right back Ben Zemanski fell right onto the foot of Pontius, who sent a square ball to Davies in the area for the simplest of finishes.
•    The visitors put the match out of reach in the 66th minute as Pontius and Davies combined one last time on a counter, Pontius this time freed down the left by De Rosario before sliding over a pass for Davies to thump home to complete his hat trick.
•    Just seconds later, David Junior Lopes clattered in Pontius and was shown a red card, Pontius carried from the field on a stretcher.
•    Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser made two changes to the team that suffered a 1-0 defeat to Real Salt Lake at The Home Depot Center. Ben Zemanski came into the back four for the injured Heath Pearce, and Justin Braun replaced Alejandro Moreno up top.
•    CHIVAS USA (4-1-3-2): Dan Kennedy - Ben Zemanski, Michael Umana, David Junior Lopes (sent off 68), Ante Jazic - Simon Elliott - Blair Gavin (Michael Lahoud 73), Nick LaBrocca, Jorge Flores (Laurent Courtois 62) - Juan Pablo Angel, Justin Braun (Alejandro Moreno 57).

•    The three-game losing streak for Chivas USA matches the longest of the season for the club, also done June 11-25 in losses to Houston, Dallas and Philadelphia.
•    “One approach is to close the door on it and say it was a bad day and move on, but I’m a little too practical for that. A lot of it, we just have to look at ourselves and look at what mistakes we’ve made and be able to commit to making the same kind of mistakes,” said Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser. “At the end of the day, if you give team goals, you are making it really difficult for yourself and I thought the goals we gave away today we’re incredibly soft.
•    Chivas USA have now gone 274 minutes without scoring a goal, shut out in their last three games, and six times in their last nine contests, after falling to D.C. United.
•    “The disappointing part is that we didn’t give ourselves a chance, meaning, so early in the game, to give up goals on simple turnovers that lead to goals is just unacceptable. When we’re chasing the game 2-0, from there on in, we have a lot of possession but we’re still not as dangerous as we need to be,” said Fraser. “Then we get to the second half, and end up giving up another goal by counterattack, tackles being missed, lots of individual small things leading to goals and that’s not good enough.”
•    With the victory, D.C. United claimed the final wild card spot for the moment, three points ahead of Chivas USA. The teams play again Sept. 21.
•    "Honestly, I don't know where to start,” Juan Pablo Ángel said. “We were outplayed, outrun and lacked all of the things that we need to do today, we didn't do it. The first thing that we needed to realize was that this was for a chance to be in the playoffs, and it was a team that we needed to beat – especially at home. "
•    Center back Heath Pearce missed his first league game of the season, after being forced from the field the weekend before with a hamstring injury.
•    In his stead, David Júnior Lopes made his second start in MLS, alongside Michael Umaña, who returned to central defense from right back. Ben Zemanski played at right back for the first time in his two-year career.
•    “We’ve had injury issues at right back recently and players are coming back into full fitness,” said Fraser. “At the end of the day, Zemanski is a guy that battles no matter where he plays, and the thinking was, if we’re perhaps uncertain with [right back], then let’s go with the guy that has filled in admirably in a number of different positions for us through heart and desire.”
•    Fraser will have more selection issues against Chicago with Júnior Lopes suspended after his sending off. However, both rookie Zarek Valentin and second-year man Mike Lahoud should be available for selection.
•    “We’ve got Andy Boyens, who has been training hard, and it’s an opportunity,” said Simon Elliott. “Heath’s on the mend, he’ll be back soon, but you have to look at it as an opportunity for someone to be raising their hand and saying, 'I deserve to play every week.' It’s ‘what are you preparing to do’ time.”