Match Preview: Chivas USA vs. Columbus Crew
CHIVAS USA vs COLUMBUS CREW
THE HOME DEPOT CENTER, Carson, Calif.
March 2, 2013 (WEEK 1, MLS Game #5)
7:30 p.m. PT (FS-OH)
Two teams looking to find their way back to the MLS Cup Playoffs open the 2013 season against each other when Chivas USA play host to the Columbus Crew at The Home Depot Center. Chivas haven’t been to the postseason in four years now, beginning a new era with José Luis Sánchez Sola in charge. The Crew saw a four-year postseason run of their own put to a halt last year – the last time they missed out, they won MLS Cup the next season.
REFEREE: Chris Penso. SAR (bench): Mike Kampmeinert; JAR (opposite): Jeff Muschik; 4th: Daniel Radford
MLS Career: 32 games; FC/gm: 22.2; Y/gm: 2.8; R: 7; pens: 12
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: CLB: Wil Trapp (U.S. U-20)
ALL-TIME (15 meetings): Chivas USA 6 wins, 21 goals ... Crew 5 wins, 19 goals ... Ties 4
AT CHIVAS USA (7 meetings): Chivas USA 5 wins, 11 goals ... Crew 1 win, 6 goals ... Ties 1
LAST YEAR (MLS):
9/19: CLB 1, CHV 0 (Meram 89)
•This is the only meeting between the teams this season.
The Crew won the lone meeting between the teams a year ago, a 1-0 win Sept. 19 at Crew Stadium that extended their undefeated streak vs. Chivas USA at Crew Stadium to seven years. Chivas USA have not won in Columbus since their first visit in their inaugural season of 2005.
• The Crew have not defeated Chivas USA at The Home Depot since the first meeting ever between the clubs, a 3-0 win Sept. 3, 2005. Chivas USA had won five consecutive home meetings with Columbus until a scoreless draw in their last encounter in Carson on April 9, 2011.
• Coaches record: Robert Warzycha vs. CHV: P9 W4 L3 D2 ... Jose Luis Sanchez Sola vs. CLB: first game
With a new man in charge and return to the club’s roots, Chivas USA are looking to make their first visit to the MLS Cup Playoffs since 2009 as the season kicks off. Jose Luis Sánchez Sola – known as “El Chelis” – has taken over the head coaching reins after Robin Fraser was dismissed from his duties after two seasons.
WATCH: The Scouting Report on Chivas USA
• Chivas USA concluded their preseason campaign with a 5-1 win against the PDL LA Blues on Feb. 23 at The Home Depot Center. Giovani Casillas scored a pair of goals for Chivas, with Jose Manuel Rivera, Eric Avila and Tristan Bowen also finding the scoresheet.
• Here’s the Chivas USA team: Dan Kennedy (Tim Melia 46), Mario de Luna (Bobby Burling 46), Daniel Antunez (Steven Purdy 65), Walter Vilchez (Carlos Borja 65), Eric Avila (Marky Delgado 65), Marvin Iraheta (Jose Manuel Rivera 46), Edgar Mejia (Emilio Orozco 80), Giovani Casillas (Carlos Alvarez 60), Laurent Courtois (Josue Soto 46), Miller Bolaños (Tristan Bowen 46), Julio Morales (Jose Correa 46)
• Chivas USA concluded their preseason camp with a 6-0-2 in exhibition matches. The rojiblancos outscored their preseason opponents 27-8, led by forward Miller Bolaños’ team-high six goals and Jose Correa’s five.
• “With each result we get, the group gets a little closer and starts building trust in each other. That’s why this preseason has been one of the most important so far in my time here,” goalkeeper Dan Kennedy said.. “I still say the most important game for us is the opening game against Columbus. I’ve been on teams that have gone [winless] in preseason and started off 7-0-2; I think we did that with Preki. What this is is a good building block, but you don’t gain points in this league in preseason.”
• Since taking over the club, Sanchez Sola has made a number of remarkable moves – with Nick LaBrocca, Casey Townsend, Ben Zemanski, James Riley and Shalrie Joseph all having been traded away.
• “With the group changing so much, I guess what I’m most happiest with is how close the group already is together,” Kennedy said. “We’ve had some obstacles, but we’ve found a way to come together. We understand how hard the season is going to be, but it’s important that through that we stick together.”
• One of the newer additions with MLS experience is San Diego native Eric Avila, who was acquired from Colorado after that club picked him up in the re-entry draft from Toronto FC.
• “I’ve learned a new position and he has been helping me throughout the whole way,” Avila said. “It’s mostly about doing what I do best and making it stronger. He’s changed me over to a right attacking player, but it’s way wide. It’s more on the defensive side as well, but it’s up and down the right side. Before I was mostly in the middle. I also played on the wing but this is up and down, staying really wide and going forward a lot, which I love to do.”
IN: MF Carlos Alvarez (1/17/13 - SuperDraft); MF Eric Avila (1/22/13 - trade from Colorado); DF Steve Purdy (2/14/13 - free); DF Carlos Borja (2/14/13 - free); MF Edgar Mejía (2/22/13 - loan from CD Guadalajara); FW Giovani Casillas (2/22/13 - loan from CD Guadalajara); DF Mario de Luna (2/22/13 - loan from CD Guadalajara); DF Joaquín Velázquez (2/26/13 - loan from CD Guadalajara); DF Wálter Vílchez (2/26/13 - Discovery); MF Josue Soto (2/27/13 - Discovery); DF Emilio Orozco (2/27/13 - Discovery)
OUT: FW Juan Pablo Ángel (12/3/12 - out of contract); MF Peter Vagenas (12/3/12 - out of contract); DF Danny Califf (12/3/12 - option declined); FW Alejandro Moreno (12/3/12 - option declined); MF Nick LaBrocca (1/22/13 - trade to Colorado); FW Casey Townsend (1/25/13 - trade to D.C. United); MF Ben Zemanski (2/13/13 - trade to Portland); DF James Riley (2/14/13 - trade to D.C. United); MF Paolo Cardozo (2/14/13 - option declined); MF Ryan Smith (2/14/13 - option declined); DF John Valencia (2/14/13 - option declined); FW Cesar Romero (2/14/13 - waived); MF Shalrie Joseph (2/19/13 - traded to Seattle)
After a four-year run in reaching the postseason, the Columbus Crew saw that streak put to an end last year when they did not play in the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2007 – the year before their MLS Cup victory. Robert Warzycha returns for his fifth season in charge of the club, having posted a .500 record or better each season.
WATCH: The Scouting Report on Columbus Crew
• The Crew completed their preseason with a 1-0 loss to the Montréal Impact in the final of the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic last Saturday evening. The game’s lone goal came from Justin Mapp nine minutes into the second half.
• Here’s the Crew team: Andy Gruenebaum; Josh Williams, Chad Marshall, Glauber, Tyson Wahl; Dominic Oduro (Ethan Finlay 65), Danny O'Rourke (Tony Tchani 46), Agustin Viana (Matias Sanchez 46), Eddie Gaven; Federico Higuain (Ben Speas 69), Jairo Arrieta (Ryan Finley 69)
• For the first time in the preseason, Warzycha was able to call upon his first-choice team. Federico Arrieta rejoined the club after spending January with the Costa Rican national team.
• "[Arrieta] is always a threat to score," Eddie Gaven said. "He's always looking to get on the end of crosses, on the end of through balls. He's a very good finisher. Hopefully we can get him various opportunities throughout the game to give him a chance to put the ball in the net."
• Gaven himself also missed a week of camp, before the final match of the Disney Classic, returning home for the birth of his second child.
• “It was kind of hard because it's not like I could actually play with a ball because there was still some snow on the ground,” Gaven said. “I just did what I could do. Now I'm down here with the team to keep trying to get fit for the first game of the season.”
• In the preseason finale, Tyson Wahl slotted in at left back, seemingly holding down the position heading into the season.
• "It's hard to find quality players at any position, especially left back," Warzycha said. "You'd like to have someone over there who has experience. It's difficult to find a left back who is left-footed. There are always more right-footed players than left-footers. It's always tough."
• Heading into the season, the Crew will also be looking to exploit a possible advantage in set pieces.
• "Set-pieces are huge for us," Josh Williams said. "Our backline is probably one of the biggest in the league now. I think any time you can get the big guys forward, and with a weapon like Federico [Higuaín] who is always going to put it in a dangerous spot, it's our job to just get on the end of it and finish."
• Added Warzycha: "I think we are going to be dangerous at set-pieces. They are part of the game and we're happy that we have players that can finish crosses and then we have very good service from Federico. If we can be dangerous [on set-pieces], we're going to win some games."
• The Crew did complete their preseason camp with the Kirk Urso Memorial Match at UNC-Greensboro Stadium. More than 2,000 fans gathered for the game, won 1-0 by the Crew on Konrad Warzycha's 79th-minute tally.
IN: MF Wil Trapp (12/13/12 - Homegrown); DF Tyson Wahl (1/3/13 - free); DF Chad Barson (1/10/13 - Homegrown); FW Ryan Finley (1/17/13 - SuperDraft); DF Gláuber (1/22/13 - Discovery); DF Agustín Viana (1/28/13 - Discovery); FW Dominic Oduro (2/4/13 - trade from Chicago); MF Matías Sánchez (2/8/13 - Discovery); DF Drew Beckie (2/15/13 - SuperDraft); MF Konrad Warzycha (2/27/13 - free); MF Shawn Sloan (2/27/13 - SuperDraft); DF Kyle Hyland (2/27/13 - Homegrown)
OUT: MF Cole Grossman (11/19/12 - option declined); FW Olman Vargas (11/19/12 - option declined); DF Nemanja Vukovic (11/19/12 - option declined); DF Rich Balchan (11/28/12 - option declined); DF Julius James (11/28/12 - option declined); DF Sebastián Miranda (11/28/12 - option declined); MF Chris Birchall (11/28/12 - option declined); FW Tommy Heinemann (11/28/12 - option declined); GK William Hesmer (11/28/12 - option declined); DF Carlos Mendes (12/11/12 - signed with NY Cosmos); MF Dilly Duka (2/4/13 - trade to Chicago)