Match Preview: Chivas USA vs. Portland
Chivas USA meet the second member of the expansion class of 2011 when the Portland Timbers come to The Home Depot Center on Saturday night. On Wednesday, Chivas played to a 1-1 draw with Vancouver Whitecaps FC in Carson. The Timbers are coming off their first home loss in MLS play, a 3-2 defeat by D.C. United last Sunday. The clubs are actually meeting for the second time this year, having faced off in a U.S. Open Cup play-in, won by Portland.
REFEREE: Chris Penso. SAR (bench): Adam Wienckowski; JAR (opposite): Adam Garner; 4th: Kevin Stott MLS Career: 3 games; FC/gm: 21.3; Y/gm: 2.7; R: 0; pens: 2
INJURY REPORT: CHIVAS USA – DOUBTFUL: MF Blair Gavin (L hamstring strain); DF Jimmy Conrad (concussion); PROBABLE: DF Michael Lahoud (concussion; MF Paulo Nagamura (L calf strain); FW Tristan Bowen (L ankle sprain); DF Seth Owusu (R knee sprain) …
PORTLAND TIMBERS – OUT: FW Bright Dike (R Achilles rupture); GK Jake Gleeson (L elbow sprain); MF Peter Lowry (L quadriceps strain); PROBABLE: DF Kevin Goldthwaite (L ankle); MF Jack Jewsbury (groin strain); FW Eddie Johnson (R Achilles tendinitis); MF Adam Moffat (R gluteal contusion); MF Darlington Nagbe (groin strain); FW Brian Umony (R knee MCL sprain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: CHV: Andrew Boyens (New Zealand); Alejandro Moreno (Venezuela) … POR: Steve Purdy (El Salvador)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CHV: Zarek Valentin … POR: Rodney Wallace
ALL-TIME(MLS): First meeting.
RETURN MATCH: 8/24: Portland Timbers vs. Chivas USA, 8 p.m. PT
• While it’s the first league meeting ever between the clubs, they did face other earlier this year in a U.S. Open Cup play-in match, the Timbers winning 2-0 at Jeld-Wen Field on March 29. Jack Jewsbury (84) and Eric Brunner (89) scored late goals to give the Timbers the victory.
• Coaches record: John Spencer vs. CHV: first game … Robin Fraser v POR: first game
Chivas USA returned home and played to a second consecutive draw, a second tie this season with Vancouver Whitecaps FC in a 1-1 result Wednesday at The Home Depot Center. Chivas USA have 14 points from 12 games on the season, in seventh place in the Western Conference.
• Both goals came in a three-minute span at the start of the second half. Nick LaBrocca gave Chivas USA the lead just seconds after the break. Receiving a pass from Gerson Mayén in midfield, LaBrocca turned and raced forward on a long run, firing a shot from outside the area past Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Joe Cannon.
• Just two minutes later, Vancouver hit for the equalizer when Camilo collected a rebound of a shot blocked by a defender and curled a shot past Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, inside the right-hand post.
• Whitecaps were forced to play the final 23 minutes of the match a man down when Eric Hassli was sent off for a reckless tackle on Chivas midfielder Ben Zemanski.
• Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser made four changes to the team that played to a 3-3 draw with the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium. Michael Umana, Gerson Mayen and Chris Cortez came in for Andrew Boyens, Simon Elliott and Alejandro Moreno, all on international duty, and Francisco Mendoza came in for the suspended Jorge Flores.
• CHIVAS USA (4-4-2): Dan Kennedy - Zarek Valentin, Michael Umana, Heath Pearce, Ante Jazic - Ben Zemanski, Gerson Mayen (Paulo Nagamura 60), Nick LaBrocca, Francisco Mendoza (Michael Lahoud 60) - Justin Braun, Chris Cortez (Victor Estupinan 76).
• After winning three times in a four-game stretch, Chivas USA have now gone three games without a victory.
• “We're all about improving, and the goal is to improve every week … and this is an opportunity to come out and continue what has been, for the most part, pretty good soccer over the last number of games,” said Chivas boss Robin Fraser. “We missed an opportunity tonight, for sure. I mean, being a man up for [25-plus] minutes at home is certainly a very, very favorable situation, and we are definitely disappointed that we didn't do as well as we would have liked to.”
• Chivas USA also have a 1-3-2 record in home games at The Home Depot Center, the only team in MLS with three home defeats.
• "Going up a goal and not being able to close out a lead, that's two games in a row we've let a lead slip away, especially being up a man the last 25 minutes or whatever, certainly that's disappointing," midfielder Ben Zemanski said. "It wasn't good enough for the first 45 minutes, it was passive, moving the ball sideways around the back and not going anywhere."
• Nick LaBrocca scored his second goal in as many games, and his third of the season, all since April 30. He’s been involved in four of Chivas USA’s last 10 goals (three goals, one assist).
• “We need to be more creative, we need to be more confident, we need to all want the ball all the time. Especially with the [possession] style that we play,” defender Heath Pearce said. “We need the majority of players on the field having good days each day if we're going to results this year.”
• Two Chivas players returned from long injury absences to make substitute appearances for the final half-hour. Paulo Nagamura had played just 31 minutes, after suffering a calf injury April 16 at Vancouver.
• “[Nagamura] sprays the ball great, hits a great ball,” LaBrocca said. "He's very accurate with his passing, and he puts good pace on his passing, and he's composed. He's very composed. There's never a sense of panic.”
• Michael Lahoud had played just 30 minutes after suffering a concussion in that same match vs. Vancouver, an aborted appearance on May 15 when he had to come off after starting vs. New York.
• “They were definite bright spots and guys that we’ve wanted to get healthy,” said Fraser. “They were able to get in and I thought that both players were bright. Physically, they were both very good and were definite bright spots.”
The Portland Timbers went down to defeat for the first time in league play at Jeld-Wen Field, falling 3-2 to D.C. United on Sunday afternoon. The Timbers have 17 points from 11 games, sitting in a tie for fifth place in the Western Conference to begin the week.
• United took the 13th minute when rookie Perry Kitchen slotted home a ball off the head of fellow first-year man Blake Brettschneider.
• The Timbers pulled even at the three-quarter mark in a bizarre sequence. After United's Dejan Jakovic pulled down forward Kenny Cooper in the penalty box, Cooper stepped up to take the spot kick, but he twice saw efforts saved by D.C. United ‘keeper Bill Hamid. Hamid was called by the assistant referee for leaving his line early each time. On the third try, Cooper moved aside for Jack Jewsbury, who slotted in the equalizer.
• But in the 75th minute, United won a penalty of his own, as Diego Chara was adjudged to have handled the ball in the area, and Chris Pontius beat Portland goalkeeper Troy Perkins from the spot. United then made 3-1 10 minutes later as Josh Wolff collected a Brettschneider flick-on from a goal kick and slotted home past Perkins.
• The Timbers pulled a goal back in the 88th minute when Jorge Perlaza headed home a long throw from Jeremy Hall from the left corner, but it was not enough.
• Timbers coach John Spencer made one change to the team that defeated the Columbus Crew 1-0 at Jeld-Wen Field. Sal Zizzo came in to the midfield for Darlington Nagbe.
• PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-1-3-2): Troy Perkins, Jeremy Hall, Mamadou Danso, Eric Brunner, Rodney Wallace - Diego Chara (Adam Moffat 84) - Sal Zizzo, Kalif Alhassan, Jack Jewsbury - Kenny Cooper (Ryan Pore 69), Jorge Perlaza.
• The Timbers saw their perfect record in MLS play at Jeld-Wen Field come to an end in the loss to D.C. United. Portland is the only club in MLS with five home wins this season.
• “We got what we thoroughly deserved, which is zero points,” Timbers head coach John Spencer said. “D.C. United said they wanted to silence the crowd and be the first team to win at Jeld-Wen. They did one of those two things. They never silenced the crowd, but they won the game. So they backed up their talk.”
• Jack Jewsbury scored his third goal on the strange penalty sequence. But it came only after Kenny Cooper took the first two – both saved – and Spencer called for Jewsbury to replace Cooper at the spot.
• “Sometimes, in certain situations, pride becomes the main concern,” Spencer said. “(Cooper was thinking) ‘Listen, I’m not going to duck away from this, I’m going to score this one.’ And for me, we can’t put someone’s personal situation above the team’s situation, and I told him that.”
• Shortly afterward, Cooper was replaced by Ryan Pore in the Timbers lineup. Cooper later apologized for his actions in putting up a fight to be replaced in taking the penalty.
• “I subbed him out because I’ve got to let him know that I’m the guy that’s, not the boss around here, but I’m the head coach and I make the decisions,” Spencer said. “When I tell someone that Jack Jewsbury is going to take the kick, then they need to respect that decision.”
• Jewsbury has been involved in seven of Portland’s last eight goals since April 17, with two goals and five assists.
• Sal Zizzo made his first league start for the Timbers as Spencer changed his team for the first time in five games. Darlington Nagbe was an unused substitute after four consecutive starts.