Preview: Chivas USA welcome Whitecaps to Carson
CHIVAS USA vs VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
THE HOME DEPOT CENTER, Carson, Calif.
March 17, 2012 (WEEK 2, MLS Game #15)
7:30 p.m. PT (KDOC; SNET Pac)
Two teams looking to make their mark in the Western Conference meet on Saturday evening at The Home Depot Center when Chivas USA entertain Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Chivas are at home for a second consecutive week, dropping their season opener 1-0 to the Houston Dynamo. Whitecaps FC kicked off their second season in style, defeating the Montreal Impact before a sellout crowd at BC Place.
REFEREE: Jair Marrufo. SAR (bench): Darren Clark; JAR (opposite): Daniel Belleau; 4th: Paul Ward
MLS Career: 127 games; FC/gm: 24.4; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 29; pens: 41
- CHIVAS USA -- OUT: MF Marvin Iraheta (L knee ACL tear); DF Michael Lahoud (R hamstring strain); DOUBTFUL: MF Blair Gavin (R hamstring strain); FW Alejandro Moreno (broken nose); PROBABLE: DF John Valencia (L quad strain)
- VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC -- OUT: FW Etienne Barbara (groin strain); GK Brian Sylvestre (R knee surgery); MF John Thorrington (L quad strain); MF Michael Nanchoff (L heel contusion); QUESTIONABLE: FW Atiba Harris (L knee pain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: CHV: Jorge Villafaña (USA U-23) ... VAN: Bryce Alderson, Russell Teibert (CAN U-23)
ALL-TIME (2 meetings): Chivas USA 0 wins, 1 goal ... Whitecaps FC 0 wins, 1 goal ... Ties 2
AT CHIVAS USA (1 meeting): Chivas USA 0 wins, 1 goal ... Whitecaps FC 0 wins, 1 goal ... Ties 1
RETURN MATCH: 10/3: Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Chivas USA, 7 p.m. PT
LAST YEAR (MLS):
4/16: VAN 0, CHV 0
6/1: CHV 1, VAN 1 (LaBrocca 46 - Camilo 48)
- The teams played to a pair of draws last year, Vancouver's first in MLS. The teams reached a scoreless draw at Empire Field in April, then a 1-1 tie in Carson in June.
- Coaches record: Robin Fraser vs. VAN: P2 W0 L0 D2 ... Martin Rennie vs. CHV: first game
Chivas USA opened their 2012 season with a heartbreaking loss, the Houston Dynamo scoring in stoppage time for a 1-0 win at The Home Depot Center.
- Just as the match was seemingly dwindling toward a scoreless draw, Andre Hainault collected a deflected shot from a corner in the box and slammed a shot past Chivas USA's heroic goalkeeper, Dan Kennedy, for the winner two minutes into stoppage time.
- Newcomer Oswaldo Minda slotted into a central midfield role for Robin Fraser, while Rauwshan McKenzie partnered Heath Pearce in central defense with John Valencia unavailable.
- CHIVAS USA (4-2-3-1): Dan Kennedy - James Riley, Heath Pearce, Rauwshan McKenzie, Ante Jazic - Oswaldo Minda, Peter Vagenas (Cesar Romero 59) - Ben Zemanski, Nick LaBrocca (Casey Townsend 77), Laurent Courtois (Ryan Smith 65) - Juan Pablo Angel.
- Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy was credited with eight saves on the afternoon before he was finally beaten for the match-winning goal.
- "I'd like to have it where we don't talk about Dan," head coach Robin Fraser said. "But it's very important for us to have a good goalkeeper as we sort ourselves out. The one thing that I think as we are a relatively new team that is still sorting out a lot of things offensively and defensively so in the midst of that, you need your goalkeeper to play well and certainly Dan did well."
- Juan Pablo Angel was officially re-signed to a new contract just two days before the Houston match, though he was with the club for the entirety of the preseason. After arriving from across The Home Depot Center from the LA Galaxy, Angel scored seven goals in nine appearances for Chivas.
- "We're sure that he's going to have a great season with us just like last season when he came on board. He wants to stay and help us make a run to the playoffs and hopefully an MLS Cup," said Chivas general manager Jose Domene.
- Jorge Villafaña (formerly known as Jorge Flores), who has been converted from a left-sided midfielder to left back over the past year, did not appear in the season opener. But he has been called into the U.S. U-23 national team for the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
- "You get picked for a national team, you're obviously doing something right," Fraser said to ESPNLosAngeles.com. "I think he's a determined player who wants to play well wherever he's put on the field. An opportunity arose for him [at left back], and he's taken in and run with it. ... I just think his confidence and understanding has grown greatly."
- A year ago, Chivas USA were shut out 12 times. The rojiblancos were 4-12-0 in one-goal games, 16th out of 18 clubs.
- "Just or unjust, we have to finish out plays, we have to finish out the game," Fraser said. "We have to be really clinical in front of both goals. ... Almost doesn't mean all that much, does it? At the end of the day, when you look back at this result, it's going to be a 1-0 defeat, and that's reality."
- Chivas opened the match with Angel plowing a lone furrow up top, moving to a 4-4-2 system for the final half-hour with the introduction of Cesar Romero, then of rookie Casey Townsend. Angel said to ESPNLA.com his preference is "to play with someone who plays with me, but at the end of the day, Robin has to decide which formation is better."
- Just four players who started in the 2011 opener for Fraser - midfielders Ben Zemanski and Nick LaBrocca and defenders Heath Pearce and Ante Jazic - started this year.
- "There was no need to and no sense in hanging our heads, we'll come back and we'll look at the things that we didn't do well enough and continue to pound away at the things that we did do well," said Fraser. "We're a group that is building and if this game is a starting point for what is a relatively new group, I'm encouraged about where we're going to be."
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC got their second MLS campaign off to a similar start as their first - a home win against a Canadian rival, with a 2-0 victory against the Montreal Impact at BC Place.
- Whitecaps FC opened the scoring for the 2012 MLS season after just four minutes. Alain Rochat sent a long ball to Eric Hassli, and the big Frenchman flicked it into the path of his rushing countryman, Sebastien Le Toux. The forward found himself in alone with goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts before sliding the ball into the bottom right corner.
- Just nine minutes into the second half Camilo doubled Vancouver's lead, beating his marker and cutting inside the box to finish with his left foot. It was a composed finish to cap a fine piece of buildup play, during which Le Toux passed through Hassli's legs to Chiumiento, who then sent Camilo into the box.
- New Whitecaps FC boss Martin Rennie started Sebastien Le Toux wide on the right with Eric Hassli at the spearhead of the attack. Martin Bonjour came in to partner Jay DeMerit in central defense.
- VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-1-4-1): Joe Cannon - Lee Young-Pyo, Jay DeMerit, Martin Bonjour, Alain Rochat - Jun Marques Davidson - Camilo (Matt Watson 81), Sebastien Le Toux, Gershon Koffie, Davide Chiumiento (Jordan Harvey 64), - Eric Hassli (Darren Mattocks 89).
- For a second consecutive season, Whitecaps FC opened their year with a home victory against a Canadian rival. But things were different a second time around.
- "[The players] realize it's three points, which is excellent, but that's all it is," head coach Martin Rennie said. "It's one win, and that doesn't get you very far in the end, so we've got a lot of work to do and we know that, and we're willing to put the effort in."
- Sebastien Le Toux's goal after just four minutes was the earliest ever to open a season in the 17-year history of MLS. The earliest previous was Troy Dayak's goal for San Jose vs. Los Angeles after nine minutes in 2001.
- "If you wrote it up any way you wanted, you'd definitely want an early goal," Rennie said. "That definitely settles the nerves and gives confidence, because Montreal started the first few minutes well and then we caught them on the other end of it, so it was a welcome goal and definitely a big part of the win."
- A year ago, Le Toux scored just one goal in the first 22 games after leading Philadelphia with 14 goals in 2010. Le Toux still scored 11 goals in 2011.
- "Last year, it took 22 games to score my second goal," Le Toux said. "All of you [media] were on my back because I wasn't scoring a goal in the games, but I always say the most important thing is the win and I'm going to say the same thing tonight."
- Camilo led Vancouver with 12 goals in its inaugural MLS campaign, which tied him for fifth in the league. He got his second season off to a fine start with a well-taken goal.
- "I think I can score more," Camilo said to The Province. "This preseason I work hard and feel better. We all work hard and everyone feels good."
- After playing most of the 2011 campaign either on the left side of midfield, where he could cut inside onto his favored right foot, or up top, Rennie set him out on the right side of midfield with Davide Chiumiento holding down the opposite flank.
- "Him being able to get in on that right channel," said Rennie to The Province, "it only needed to work once, and it did. I think he can play in any position."
- With veteran John Thorrington out with a thigh injury, newcomer Jun Marques Davidson filled the holding midfield role.
- The Caps will be without midfielders Bryce Alderson and Russell Teibert after the pair was called into the Canadian U-23 national team for the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament.