Priority No. 1 for Chivas USA: Stop Revs' Joseph
CARSON, Calif. – Chivas USA picked up their first victory of the year on the road last weekend; now they’re looking for their first victory of the season at the friendly confines of the Home Depot Center.
The Rojiblancos will look to extend their four-game unbeaten streak and earn their first victory at home on Saturday against the New England Revolution (10:30 pm ET, Direct Kick, MatchDay Live). The two teams have been linked over the past few weeks after Chivas USA passed on midfielder Benny Feilhaber, only for New England to sign him.
While much of the media focus will be on Feilhaber facing the team that spurned him, Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser has put the focus on stopping the other Revolution midfield star, Shalrie Joseph. The versatile veteran has played all around the park for the Revolution this year, even playing up top in their victory over Sporting Kansas City last weekend.
“He’s the type of player that changes games and, for so many years now, Shalrie has come in with a key play for them week in and week out when they needed it the most,” said Fraser. “The other pieces that they’ve added have surely enhanced their team and made them better, but at the end of the day, you have to believe that it’s about Shalrie.”
While Chivas took a great deal of flack for not taking Feilhaber, their midfield has shined. One of the stars has been Nick LaBrocca, who was acquired from Toronto FC near the end of preseason. With little fanfare, LaBrocca has been the glue, providing the connecting passes that help create attacks for the Rojiblancos.
For the Goats to pick up their first victory at home, it will be the battle in the center of the pitch that will make the difference. Against San Jose, the Chivas midfield was able to outwork the normally gritty Quakes, consistently winning possession with timely tackles. Against the Joseph-led Revolution, it’s likely that LaBrocca and the rest of the Chivas midfield will need to do the same.
“We need to just keep doing what we’re doing and continue to take positive steps and those wins will come for us,” LaBrocca told MLSsoccer.com. “It feels like a weight was lifted off our shoulders last week, but not too much has changed, everyone has been intense every day in training and we’re still taking positive steps.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter: @adamserrano