Columbus Crew vs. Chivas USA (September 7, 2014)
Gabriel de los Rios / MLSsoccer.com

Columbus Crew vs. Chivas USA | MLS Match Preview

COLUMBUS CREW vs. CHIVAS USA
Columbus Crew Stadium - Columbus, Ohio
Sept. 7, 2014 (WEEK 26, MLS Game #250)
3 p.m. ET (UniMas; TWCS-OH, KDOC)

The Columbus Crew will looking to keep hold on a playoff position in the Eastern Conference when they meet Chivas USA on Sunday afternoon at Crew Stadium. The Crew come into the game off of a 2-0 loss at the MontrÈal Impact last weekend, and now find themselves in a three-way tie on 33 points for the final postseason spot in the division. Chivas USA put an end to their long goalless drought but still saw their winless streak extended at midweek, in a 4-2 home loss to Seattle Sounders FC.

REFEREE: Geoff Gamble. SAR (bench): Greg Barkey; JAR (opposite): Brian Dunn; 4th: Kevin Terry Jr.
Gamble's MLS Career: 29 games; FC/gm: 24.0; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 4; pens: 13

SUSPENDED: CLB -- Tony Tchani (caution accumulation; through Sept. 7), Wil Trapp (caution accumulation; through Sept. 7) ... CHV -- Erick Torres (through Sept. 14); Bobby Burling (caution accumulation; through Sept. 7); Oswaldo Minda (caution accumulation; through Sept. 7)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: CHV -- Agustin Pelletieri, Erick Torres
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CLB -- Bernardo Anor, Federico Higuain, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Waylon Francis ... CHV -- Marky Delgado, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Donny Toia, Nathan Sturgis, Leandro Barrera, Nigel Reo-Coker
DISABLED LIST: CLB -- Matthew Wiet; Josh Williams; Kingsley Baiden (season-ending injury) ... CHV -- Thomas McNamara
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: CLB -- Romain Gall (U.S. U-20) ... CHV -- Erick Torres (Mexico, 9/6 v Chile; 9/9 v Bolivia)

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (16 meetings): Crew 6 wins, 22 goals ... Chivas USA 6 wins, 21 goals ... Ties 4
AT COLUMBUS (8 meetings): Crew 4 wins, 13 goals ... Chivas USA 1 win, 10 goals ... Ties 3

LAST YEAR (MLS):
3/2: CHV 0, CLB 3 (Higuain 51; Williams 88; Oduro 94+)

  • This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
  • The Crew have won the last two meetings between the teams, over the last two years, and have a four-game undefeated streak alive vs. Chivas USA. The Crew took a 3-0 win last March 2 in the only meeting between the clubs, their first defeat of Chivas in Carson since the first meeting ever between the clubs, a 3-0 win Sept. 3, 2005.
  • Chivas USA have not won in Columbus since their first visit in their inaugural season of 2005. The Crew won 1-0 in 2012 in the last meeting at Crew Stadium that extended their undefeated streak there vs. Chivas USA to seven years.
  • Coaches record: Gregg Berhalter vs. CHV: first game ... Wilmer Cabrera vs. CLB: first game

COLUMBUS CREW
The Columbus Crew saw their two-game winning streak come to an end, falling 2-0 to the Montreal Impact on Saturday evening at Stade Saputo. The Crew are in a tie for fourth place in the Eastern Conference, with 33 points from 26 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The Impact opened the scoring in the 40th minute. Felipe won the ball in midfield and released Ignacio Piatti down the right, sprinting toward goal. After juking past several Crew defenders, he placed his left-footed shot past goalkeeper Steve Clark inside the far post.
  • The Impact and Piatti had their second in second-half stoppage time. Montreal threw numbers forward on the counter, and Piatti blasted a shot into the back of the net after Marco Di Vaio saw his attempt tackled away in the Crew box.
  • Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter made no changes to the team that strolled to a 3-0 victory against the Houston Dynamo at Crew Stadium.
  • COLUMBUS CREW (4-4-1-1): Steve Clark - Eric Gehrig (Hector Jimenez 59), Michael Parkhurst, Tyson Wahl, Waylon Francis - Ethan Finlay, Tony Tchani, Wil Trapp, Justin Meram (Ben Speas 76) - Federico Higuain - Adam Bedell (Aaron Schoenfeld 67).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Crew saw their quick two-game winning run come to an end, just their second loss over the last eight matches. The loss also ended a two-game away undefeated run.
  • "We're disappointed, that's definitely the case," head coach Gregg Berhalter said. "I think we could have had a better attitude, a more killer instinct. Because the door was wide open. ... We're in a dogfight right now and we know how sensitive this situation is. We have eight games left, so that's eight more finals that we need to play, like it is our last game."
  • The Crew were shut out for the first time since June 29, when they recorded a second consecutive goalless draw. The Crew had scored seven goals over the previous two games, with multiple goals in five of their previous six matches.
  • "We weren't sharp enough," Berhalter said. "Credit Montreal for playing a good game, but I don't want to start comparing performances. I look at this performance, and we should have been better. We should have been better."
  • Added striker Aaron Schoenfeld: "I think when it came down to the final ball, some of our decision-making up there often went to turnovers. You just can't turn over the ball in good areas."
  • Tyson Wahl made a second consecutive start in central defense after the departure of Giancarlo Gonzalez. He has started three of the last five matches.
  • "I don't think we matched that effort level that we had in our two past wins. We didn't replicate those performances. There was a little bit of a drop off there. We put ourselves in a hole in the first half and couldn't get sharp enough in the final third to get anything going," Wahl said.
  • The Crew midfield remained unchanged for a third consecutive match to start. After not featuring in the Houston match, Ben Speas came on for the final quarter-hour.
  • "We pressed a little bit higher than we normally do. We were a little more impatient and because of that it caused our midfielders to do some extra running. When they had the ball, they weren't as sharp as they have been. Our midfielders have been great this season for us, but we caused them to do too much running and too much extra work," Wahl said.

CHIVAS USA
Chivas USA put an end to their goalless drought but had their winless run extended, falling 4-2 to Seattle Sounders FC on Wednesday evening at StubHub Center. Chivas USA sit in ninth place in the Western Conference with 24 points from 26 games.

LAST MATCH

  • Sounders FC broke open the game early. In the 11th minute, Chad Marshall headed a corner kick toward goal and it fell right to Obafemi Martins, who turned it home from close range for the opener. Five minutes later, Clint Dempsey freed Lamar Neagle and Martins all alone behind the Chivas backline, and Neagle slid it to Martins to finish into an empty net for his and Seattle's second.
  • The lead hit 4-0, both scored by Andy Rose on set-piece deliveries from Brad Evans in virtually identical scenarios. The first came in the 38th minute when Rose tracked down Evans' cross near the back post on the right and beat goalkeeper Dan Kennedy with a volley. Rose struck again six minutes later, this time with a header from the heart of the area from an Evans freekick service.
  • Chivas USA put an end to their long scoreless streak in the 51st minute when Marco Delgado finished an Eric Avila lob into the area with a header past Sounders FC goalkeeper Stefan Frei. It was Chivas USA's first goal since July 20, snapping their goalless streak at 597 consecutive minutes.
  • Chivas scored a second nine minutes later, when Ryan Finley converted his own penalty after being brought down by Sounders FC center back Zach Scott.
  • Chivas USA head coach Wilmer Cabrera made six changes to the team that dropped a 3-0 decision to the LA Galaxy at StubHub Center. Bobby Burling  and Tony Lochhead came into the back four for Andrew Jean-Baptiste and Donny Toia, Marky Delgado, Oswaldo Minda and Eric Avila started in midfield in place of Nathan Sturgis, Agustin Pelletieri and Leandro Barrera, and Ryan Finley came in up top for Erick Torres.
  • CHIVAS USA (4-4-2): Dan Kennedy - Akira Kaji, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (Andrew Jean-Baptiste 46), Bobby Burling, Tony Lochhead - Marky Delgado, Oswaldo Minda (Luis BolaÒos 79), Nigel Reo-Coker, Eric Avila (Marvin Chavez 69) - Ryan Finley, Felix Borja.

TEAM NEWS

  • The loss to Sounders FC was the third in a row for Chivas USA, extending their winless streak to eight games, since a four-game winning streak that finished with a 3-1 win at Vancouver on July 12.
  • "Definitely the first half was embarrassing for us. Especially when you receive three goals on set pieces, something that we practice every week. It's just [lack of] focus and concentration from the players. They know and realize that, but we have to emphasize the positives," said Chivas USA head coach Wilmer Cabrera. "The second half was the best second half I have seen from Chivas USA since I have been here. We scored goals, we put pressure, we dominated possession, and passing accuracy for us was the best. So we need to grab something today. Our first half was like nothing and then we grabbed that second half and we need to replicate that for the remaining of the season. If we can do that we will be able to grab some points and continue to move forward. But we have to understand that we cannot play the way we did in the first half."
  • Chivas USA also put an end to their goalless drought after 597 minutes. It was four minutes shy of the Chivas USA club-record scoreless streak, the longest in the league this season and the third-longest in MLS history.
  • "It's very important for us. We haven't scored too many goals this season and now we have to realize that our top scorer, who has 14 goals out of the 23 we have, is out, so we need everyone to step up," said Cabrera. "It was positive for both Marky [Delgado] and Ryan [Finley]. We created options. The second half they showed personality, character and that they feel pride on the field. The only thing is that when you are losing 4-0 at halftime, the game was over."
  • The four goals conceded by Chivas USA matched their season-high, having allowed four goals also at StubHub Center in a 4-1 loss to Houston on May 3.
  • Marky Delgado scored his second career Chivas USA goal, both coming this season, his first coming on May 17. Delgado was returning to the starting lineup after a two-match absence.
  • "It was a good feeling. The second half we were down 4-0 and it was all about pride. It's about playing your heart out and getting that goal back gave us a lot of confidence," said Delgado. "Especially for myself, it gave me a lot of confidence. My touch got better, all around I got better. It felt great, it was a good feeling."
  • Ryan Finley made just his second start since his arrival at Chivas USA, his first since July 2, playing the full 90 minutes in attack alongside Felix Borja. He scored his second career MLS goal almost a year to the day after netting his first -- that coming Sept. 4, 2013, for the Columbus Crew against Houston.
  • "For me to come in and get a chance and obviously playing with Felix [Borja] who is a great player as well, very experienced and is just a bull up [top]. It was nice to work with him and build off that," said Finley. "For the future when [Torres] comes back, hopefully we can have three guys up top that if we need someone else to step in or someone needs a break, hopefully we have more options."
  • The match was the first of the season without Erick Torres, who was called into the Mexican national team for the first time. Torres will also miss the Columbus match while on international duty; he will then serve a two-match suspension upon his return to the club following his red card vs. the LA Galaxy.
  • "It was different. It was different because Torres is always the man right there in the middle. He's always there in the right spots, for the tap-ins and for holding up the ball," said Delgado. "But I think [Felix] Borja and Ryan [Finley] did well playing together. I felt like they were communicating well and were playing well with each other, running off the ball and playing one-two's."
  • Luis Bolanos made his Chivas USA and MLS debut, coming on for the final 11 minutes in a central midfield role.
  • "He showed that he has personality and that he goes for the ball every time. He moves well into the spaces and he's going to look into shooting the ball," said Cabrera. "As soon as he gets that confidence, that touch, because he had 2-3 shots from distance, he will help us. The positive is that he moves well between the lines and that he always is in dangerous positions."