CARSON, Calif. – The Vancouver Whitecaps don’t scare Heath Pearce.
As Chivas USA get set to welcome the Whitecaps at The Home Depot Center on Saturday night (10:30 pm ET, MLS Live), the Goats say they can handle what many consider to be the most dangerous attacking corps in MLS.
“They have one of, if not the most dangerous strike force in the league right now,” Pearce said. “But it’s something that I'm confident with our backline, we'll be able to neutralize them and score some goals, which should help slow them down.”
While Chivas USA fell to a last-minute goal in their home opener last Sunday, the Whitecaps attack drew rave reviews as they dispatched the expansion Montreal Impact 2-0 on First Kick weekend.
In their preparations to slow down the vaunted Whitecaps offense, the Rojiblancos will be able to get the inside scoop from their own defensive midfielder Peter Vagenas, who spent last season with the 'Caps alongside attackers Eric Hassli, Davide Chiumiento and Camilo. Vagenas also spent the 2009 season serving as Sébastien Le Toux’s teammate with the Seattle Sounders.
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“They have fantastic ability – Eric, Davide, Camilo, Seba, they all bring something different and if they can put that together they'll be a special group,” Vagenas said of his former teammates. “They're flying right now and they'll be a challenge for us. They won their first game, but that being said, we need three points, we've had two home games in a row and we have to come out with three points.”
When Vancouver will bring a bevy of attacking talent to the Home Depot Center, Chivas will likely be without several of their most experienced attackers. Both Juan Pablo Ángel (precautionary measures) Alejandro Moreno (broken nose) are injury doubts, while midfielder Michael Lahoud (hamstring strain) is unavailable for Saturday’s match.
To replace his veterans, Chivas USA manager Robin Fraser will likely call upon a trio of young faces to bolster the Chivas attack. New forward Cesar Romero and midfielder Miller Bolaños, as well as rookie forward Casey Townsend, appear ready to step into the role vacated by the injured veterans.
While Chivas’ dynamic youngsters may not be as experienced as Vancouver’s group, Fraser is confident that his young charges are ready to go toe-to-toe with the Whitecaps.
“They’re good young attacking guys, who are hungry and looking for opportunities,” Fraser said. “They’re good players if called upon.”