MLS Regular Season
After earning three points at Jeld-Wen Field last Saturday vs Portland Timbers, MLSsoccer.com has placed Chivas USA in the 13th spot of the MLS Power Rankings for Week 21, moving on up one spot from last week’s rankings.. The club also ranks 13th in the overall league standings with a record of 7-8-5 (W-L-T) and 26 points, just three spots from playoff contention. If the Goats earn nine points in the next three games (LA Galaxy, Colorado Rapids, and Seattle Sounders respectfully), the team could be in contention for a berth in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Aside from the Power Rankings, the Goats are currently the top defense in the Western Conference, and third league-wide with just 21 goals against in 20 games disputed.
Click here to see all MLSsoccer.com’s Power Rankings and let us know if you agree or disagree with the rankings!
It’s been a long two weeks for Chivas USA Goalkeeper Dan Kennedy. After earning his sixth shutout of the season in the 1-0 win over Portland Timbers in a midweek match, Kennedy prepared for the second SuperClásico of the season before heading to Philadelphia for the MLS All-Star Game vs Chelsea. The 30-year old keeper then returned to the West Coast to prepare for the team’s final match vs Portland Timbers last Saturday at Jeld-Wen Field. After Danny Califf’s lone goal in the 68th minute of the match that gave the team the final 1-0 victory, Kennedy earned his seventh shutout of the season, making 67 saves this season and currently holds a 1.05 goals against average.
Take a look at one of his best saves from last Saturday’s game. Candidate for MLS Save of the Week? Let us know!
HEAD COACH ROBIN FRASER
Thoughts on the game: “I don’t think we played as well as we would liked to have, but every point counts and I’m really proud of the effort. I think we fought to the bitter end and as I said the soccer wasn’t great, but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter, it’s three points. A well earned three points by a hard working group.”
On the game plan: “I think you always have to or want to play a certain style and play in a certain manner. We had moments where we did OK, but for the most part we didn’t connect as well as we needed to, we didn’t keep the ball in certain areas of the field where we needed to, and at the end it just became a bit of a street fight for us. To the player’s credit, they really hung in there and fought.”
On goalkeeper Dan Kennedy: “Dan’s been very good all year. Obviously he made the All-Star Team because of it. He’s playing with a lot of confidence, and I’ve been saying this all year. As you’re building your team you need to make sure you stay in games, and as you’re building your style of play, you need to make sure you stay in games, and certainly Dan’s done a great job of allowing us to do that.”
DEFENDER DANNY CALIFF
On scoring the goal: “It’s fantastic. The couple times I’ve been here before have not turned out very well at all for me, so it was great to come out tonight and get on the score sheet. It’s been a while, the first game [I have scored in] since last year, so it feels great to come in, in a really difficult place to play and be able to get three points.”
On getting the win despite Portland’s statistical edge: “You see it in soccer sometimes where teams can throw everything and the kitchen sink and have lots of opportunities and lots of shots on the night and nothing will fall, and the other team can have one or two chances and put them away and walk away with the victory. That’s the cruel beast sometimes.”
On having played the Timbers twice in quick succession: “It helped to have played them recently. I think the personnel they put out tonight didn’t change much from when we played [on July 18], maybe just one or two changes. So that was good in knowing how to match up with them and things like that, but coming in here and playing them is completely different than at your home place. It’s an intimidating atmosphere, it’s a great place to play, there’s so much energy, so for us it’s an incredible result.”
Chivas USA arrived Friday at JELD-WEN Field in Portland for a light evening workout in preparation for its Saturday 8 pm PT match-up against the Timbers. The Western Conference battle is a pivotal match for both squads, especially the Goats, as they remain in striking distance of a playoff spot. The Rojiblancos are unbeaten in four out of their last five matches, including two wins and since May 13 are unbeaten in eight of ten.
With a win the Rojiblancos would sweep the season series against Portland, as they have taken the previous two matches this year – one at home and the other on the road. The two teams last faced each other in a July 18 match, which Chivas USA won in a 1-0 shutout at The Home Depot Center.
“It’s an important game for us,” said defender Danny Califf. “Portland is near us in the standings and they are Western Conference opponents, it’s going to be really important to give it a real solid effort and get three points.”
Even though last Saturday’s loss in the second SuperClásico of the season was tough, there is somewhat of a bright side: midfielder Paolo Cardozo’s goal against his old club, and first ever MLS goal is now nominated for MLS’ Goal of the Week.
Cardozo’s goal came just in the 52nd minute when the Red-and-White were down 2-0. Midfielder Ryan Smith went past three Galaxy defenders to give the pass to the Uruguayan who was just at the 18-yard line, and struck a shot that goalkeeper Josh Saunders could not stop.
Re-live Cardozo's goal then vote for Cardozo’s goal by clicking here, or text the code ‘G5’ to 22442.
HEAD COACH – ROBIN FRASER:
Thoughts on game: “In the first half I thought we were a little too passive. In the second half pressure was much better and we were able to force their defenders to make difficult decisions and we were able to win some turnovers. In the first half I thought that we turned the ball over too many times and in bad spots. I felt like in the second half through our pressure we were able to win more balls further up the field and that always makes a difference.”
On Chivas USA’s performance after Galaxy’s first goal: “For the rest of the half we had moments where we just turned the ball over in bad spots and kept ourselves under pressure. In the second half we certainly had a very bright spell, where we were aggressive and obviously scored the goal. We created some chances, we had been pushing for a while there. We definitely had good moments but at the end of the day, again, self-inflicted wounds, I feel like is the story for us.”
On the team’s chemistry: “We know what we have to do in terms of building up with the ball and we just have to execute. When we executed it was good, and for us in the second half, we executed quite well and we put ourselves in pretty good spots, but when we don’t execute we put ourselves in trouble.”
DEFENDER – ANTE JAZIC:
Thoughts on game: “We didn’t play well today, the Galaxy applied pressure they dictated the game. We showed them too much respect, we let them have too much time on the ball and they dictated the tempo where we had to do a lot of defending. The game got stretched out, which favors them, and overall not a great night for us. We weren’t very compact; we didn’t make it very hard on them.”
HEAD COACH – ROBIN FRASER:
Thoughts on game: “I thought the first half went very well for us, we started off positive. We did a good job of managing the tempo of the game. At times we possessed well and when we found moments to be dangerous, if not dangerous, we were pretty close to being dangerous. It was good to see us play with that sort of rhythm. In the second half we definitely weren’t as good with the ball and weren’t as forward thinking as we were in the first half and as a result we ended up defending a lot more.
Credit to the group, obviously to go down a man for the number of minutes we did, to deal with the daytime game, the group really hung in there. I’m very proud and happy for the win and the shutout.”
On Ryan Smith’s performance: “Ryan was certainly effective and dangerous a number of times. He hasn’t played a lot of minutes recently since the concussion in the reserve game, so getting him back to match fitness is certainly a work in progress. We knew that going in with himself and with Miller [Bolaños], guys who haven’t played a lot of minutes lately. But we felt like they were guys that were going to be dangerous for us and fortunately it worked out.”
Thoughts on the SuperClasico: “[Galaxy] has very good attacking players, no two ways about it. The goal is to deal with them and deal with them collectively as we have attempted to deal with everyone. If we work together and smart, hopefully we will limit their chances and we will do some things on the attacking end of the field in that game.”
GOALKEEPER – DAN KENNEDY:
Thoughts on game: “We needed to win this game – it was a big game for us. I actually thought it could’ve been two or three nothing, we’re happy.”
MIDFIELDER – RYAN SMITH:
Thoughts on game: “We won at home, it was nice. It was a great team spirit today, I know we only scored one goal but the one goal was enough. Everyone is happy and it’s three points at the end of the day, we can’t complain with anything.”
On his assist: “For me it was brilliant because sometimes we play such great stuff at home and we don’t get rewarded for it and today, in the first half in particular, we played very well, we attacked very well. With the assist, it’s something that I do, we’ve struggled to score goals this year but I managed to pull off a good move and Miller got to the ball at the end of the save and scored, it was great.”
On the fourth consecutive unbeaten match: “It shows what we’ve been. We’ve been quite solid, aside from the Open Cup game, but we’re on the right path. We won today which is going to give us confidence for the next game.”
After being named to the 2012 MLS All-Star Team, Goalkeeper Dan Kennedy’s schedule has turned quite the busy one. The Yorba Linda, California native must now prepare for a busy schedule ahead: tomorrow’s match vs Portland Timbers, Saturday’s second SuperClásico of the Year, his birthday the following day (he wants to celebrate it with a win on Saturday), then flying out to Philadelphia to prepare for Wednesday’s MLS All-Star game vs FA Cup Champion Chelsea FC. Before going into all the chaos, Dan spoke to FS West about his All-Star selection at yesterday’s Dodger game at Dodgers Stadium. Check out what the MLS All-Star had to say:
CHIVAS USA HEAD COACH – ROBIN FRASER:
Thoughts on the game: “I thought we were probably a little too passive in the beginning of the game, not urgent enough. Certainly, when we’re playing against a team who has traveled a bit and played a couple of games, we want to be able to push the tempo and push the pace. First half I thought things were a little bit too slow, we didn’t move the ball quickly enough, we didn’t make it difficult for them at all. I felt in the second half our urgency was much better. Certainly the second half of the second half I thought it was very good. Obviously pleased with creating a number of chances. Ultimately, obviously we need to finish one of those. More than anything we just come out of it as a group realizing that we have to [be urgent]. The urgency that we saw in the second half is what we need to see more of.”
On Chivas USA’s defense: “Certainly we’ve seen this group grow defensively. I think Danny Califf has been very instrumental in solidifying how we defend. Having said that, as you look at the second half, I think the entire team defending was very good and as a result we are certainly happy to have shutouts but we need to win games.”
CHIVAS USA DEFENDER – JAMES RILEY:
Thoughts on the game: “I thought the energy in the second half was great, first half obviously came off a little slow after the by week. I think the second half we obviously pushed the game and tried to get the goal and we were bright at times. We are missing that final touch at times still, but it’s always good to play an entertaining match even though it was zero, zero. Defensively, we kept it zero. Some guys put in good shifts and we got some guys back off injury, it was good.”
On the team’s performance: “I think the defense plays well as a unit. I thought the midfield and the forwards put in a great shift today. The formation shift at half time really worked and as we continue to fine line it or fine tune it, the goals will start coming. The good thing is we’re getting chances. I think we’re a deep team, we have guys that can contribute off the bench and if they have to start and things of that sort, we’ll do well.”
CHIVAS USA MIDFIELDER – RYAN SMITH:
Thoughts on the game: “Started off a bit slow, we didn’t create too many chances. At least we didn’t lose and we didn’t give up any goals. It’s a point at the end of the day, so we’ve got to be happy with that.”
On how the team’s is preparing for the four upcoming matches this month: “We just do what we normally do, just train hard and work on our game plans from game to game. Whoever we are playing against, we’ll prepare for them.”