Wed, Oct 3
10:00 PM ET

Preview: Whitecaps aim for full points with Chivas in town

BC PLACE, Vancouver, B.C.
October 3, 2012 (WEEK 31, MLS Game #294)
7 p.m. PT (SNET Pac; KDOC)
Maintaining a slim lead in their bid for a place in the MLS Cup Playoffs, Vancouver Whitecaps FC continue their long homestand when they play host to Chivas USA on Wednesday evening at BC Place. Whitecaps FC still lead FC Dallas by two points for the fifth and final spot in the Western Conference, despite seeing their winless streak stretched to seven games in a scoreless draw with Seattle. Chivas USA have now lost six in row and haven’t scored in four games, following their 4-0 home loss to Real Salt Lake last weekend.
REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda. AR1 (bench): Paul Scott; AR2 (opposite): Bill Dittmar; 4th: Tyler Ploeger
MLS Career: 74 games; FC/gm: 24.5; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 14; pens: 11
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC – OUT: FW Etienne Barbara (lower back pain); MF John Thorrington (L hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: FW Darren Mattocks (R hamstring strain)
CHIVAS USA – OUT: MF Ryan Smith (concussion); DOUBTFUL: GK Tim Melia (lower back); PROBABLE: DF Jorge Villafaña (L calf contusion); MF Ben Zemanski (R ankle sprain)
CHV: Oswaldo Minda
VAN: Martin Bonjour, Camilo, Jun Marques Davidson, Jay DeMerit, Jordan Harvey, Gershon Koffie, Darren Mattocks, Alain Rochat
CHV: Miller Bolaños, Ryan Smith, John Valencia, Nick LaBrocca, Casey Townsend
ALL-TIME (3 meetings): Whitecaps FC 1 win, 2 goals … Chivas USA 0 wins, 1 goal … Ties 3
AT VANCOUVER (1 meeting): Whitecaps FC 0 wins, 0 goals … Chivas USA 0 wins, 0 goals … Ties 1
2012 (MLS)
3/17: CHV 0, VAN 1 (DeMerit 68)
7/7: CHV 0, VAN 0
  • The teams are meeting for the third time this year. Center back Jay DeMerit provided the game’s only goal in a Whitecaps FC victory on March 17. They played to a scoreless draw July 7.
  • The teams have played to draws in three of four meetings all-time. The Whitecaps FC win in the first meeting this year was the first victory by either team in the all-time series.
  • Coaches' records: Robin Fraser vs. VAN: P4 W0 L1 D3 … Martin Rennie vs. CHV: P2 W1 L0 D1
  • Joe Cannon was credited with three saves in recording his eighth clean sheet of the year, making a pair of stops in short order in a late flurry by Chivas USA to preserve the result.
  • Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy was credited with one save on the evening.
  • CHIVAS USA (4-4-2): Dan Kennedy - James Riley, Rauwshan McKenzie, Danny Califf, Jorge Villafana - Ben Zemanski, Nick LaBrocca, Paolo Cardozo, Laurent Courtois (Ryan Smith 46) - Jose Correa, Juan Pablo Angel.
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-2-3-1): Joe Cannon - Lee Young-Pyo, Jay DeMerit, Martin Bonjour, Jordan Harvey - Gershon Koffie, Alain Rochat - Barry Robson, Sebastien Le Toux, Davide Chiumiento - Eric Hassli (Camilo 69).
Vancouver Whitecaps FC saw their winless run stretched to seven games, playing to a second consecutive draw, this time a scoreless result with Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday evening at BC Place. Whitecaps FC are in fifth place in the Western Conference with 39 points from 31 games.
  • Both sides came close to dramatic late winners. Vancouver substitute Camilo nearly hit the back of the net on a diagonal strike in stoppage time, while only a goal-line clearance from Whitecaps defender Lee Young-Pyo kept Seattle's Jeff Parke off the board with just more than 10 minutes left to play.
  • Both goalkeepers -- Seattle's Michael Gspurning and Vancouver's Brad Knighton -- were each credited with three saves on the evening.
  • Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie made three changes to the team that reached a 2-2 with the Colorado at BC Place. Andy O'Brien came into central defense for Martin Bonjour, and Kenny Miller and John Thorrington came into the wide positions for Dane Richards and Camilo.
  • VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (4-2-3-1): Brad Knighton - Lee Young-Pyo, Andy O'Brien, Jay DeMerit, Jordan Harvey - Gershon Koffie, Alain Rochat - Kenny Miller, Barry Robson, John Thorrington (Matt Watson 17) - Darren Mattocks (Camilo 42).
  • Whitecaps FC saw their winless streak stretched to seven games, having not won since Aug. 11, and having won just twice since the halfway point of the campaign.
  • “We defended well today, we look organized, and we gave up very few chances in the game. We possessed the ball well, we created good opportunities and we had a chance at the end to win the game, but I definitely saw progress and a lot to build on going forward,” said Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie.
  • Vancouver recorded a shutout for the first time since a scoreless draw July 7 with Chivas USA. The last Whitecaps FC victory by shutout came July 4, a 1-0 win at Colorado. Vancouver goalkeeper Brad Knighton recorded his third career MLS shutout, his first with the club.
  • “I think for us to get a clean sheet against a good Seattle team that scores a lot of goals is a major step for us in the right direction,” said center back and captain Jay DeMerit. “Obviously, [there is] natural disappointment because we had chances to win the game, but they didn’t fall for us tonight.”
  • Whitecaps FC were shut out in attack for the fifth time in their seven-game winless skid, having scored just three goals in that stretch.
  • After missing three matches following an adductor injury he suffered during the Aug. 25 game with Portland, Andy O’Brien returned to central defense to partner DeMerit.
  • “From a defensive point of view, we kept a clean sheet which is obviously your objective before the game. I think we limited them to a few chances,” O’Brien said. “ … I thought collectively we did very well. People will say we kept a clean sheet, but like I said before the game, our strikers are our first defenders and I thought they were superb as well.”
  • Said DeMerit: “I think what Andy brings is a wealth of experience and is someone who has been there and done it at the highest level for many years. When you combine that with someone who can communicates and is dependable, that means it’s a good partnership. I thought we did well tonight considering we’ve never played together other than the Portland game. I thought we communicated and played well together as a partnership and that’s a huge thing to build upon for Wednesday.”
  • Rookie striker Darren Mattocks suffered a hamstring strain that forced him from the field before the end of the first half, and said he will be unavailable for the Chivas match.
  • “Hopefully the week goes well,” Mattocks said. “Probably I’ll be out for [Wednesday’s game], but there’s plenty of time for the 21st.”
  • “We keep looking for that something that will change it. We haven’t found it yet, but we have three games to do it,” said DeMerit. “I think the games can’t come quick enough now. We’re starting to hit a bit of a form and playing a lot better soccer on the field and the fans have helped us also. We’re now looking forward to Wednesday. Three points is all we need.”
  • Whitecaps FC were forced into an even earlier change when John Thorrington had to leave after just 11 minutes with a hamstring injury.
  • “It was a hard fought game. It was unfortunate for us at the end, but we’re happy with the result. You set out a game plan and go out to get three points, but when you have two injuries in the first 25-30 minutes, it does kind of change that,” said Kenny Miller. “I thought Matt came in and was superb and obviously Camilo had the opportunity at the end for us.”
Chivas USA had their losing streak and goalless streaks extended, falling 4-0 to Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening at The Home Depot Center. Chivas USA are in ninth place in the Western Conference with 28 points from 30 games.
  • Real Salt Lake took the lead after just eight minutes. From the right flank, Fabián Espíndola centered the ball to Javier Morales, who flicked a header on towards the far post. Saborío got in behind the Chivas defense and hammered home the finish.
  • Four minutes later, Espíndola again created the chance, intercepting a pass from Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy just outside the penalty area. Espíndola ran towards the goal line and found Saborío alone in front of the net and while Saborío’s shot was not clean, it had more than enough pace to find the back of the net.
  • Saborío put the game out of reach in the 65th minute, completing his hat trick in spectacular fashion. Kennedy scrambled to stop Will Johnson from close range but the ball rolled back to Saborío. With his back to the goal, Saborío turned and lifted a ball over Kennedy that hit the underside of the crossbar and went in for the goal.
  • The rout was complete in the 81st minute when Paulo Jr. pounded home a shot from the right side of the penalty area.
  • Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser made four changes to the team that fell 1-0 to D.C. United at RFK Stadium. James Riley and Ante Jazic came into the back four for Ben Zemanski and Jorge Villafana, and Oswaldo Minda and Juan Pablo Angel came back into the team for Shalrie Joseph and Casey Townsend.
  • CHIVAS USA (4-3-3): Dan Kennedy - James Riley, John Valencia, Danny Califf, Ante Jazic - Nick LaBrocca, Oswaldo Minda, Peter Vagenas (Ben Zemanski 73) - Ryan Smith (Juan Agudelo 57), Juan Pablo Angel (Jose Correa 82), Miller Bolanos.
  • Chivas USA saw their losing streak extended to six games, matching the club record, and their current goalless drought stretched to 442 minutes, longest in MLS this season.
  • “I think that this team has been pretty resilient, if not efficient, for many of the games down this difficult stretch,” said Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser. “Giving away a couple opportunities early in a game where we’re actually playing pretty well, I think, is a season’s worth of frustration building up and probably coming to the surface in the last few minutes of the game. I think all throughout the year, we’ve made too many critical mistakes at critical points in games.”
  • Said goalkeeper Dan Kennedy: “Right now it seems like we’re getting punished for every small mistake, every little detail we miss, we get punished for it. This is a time of year where teams gain momentum for the playoffs or they don’t. [Saturday] we ran into a team that’s gaining a little bit of momentum.”
  • The 442 minutes without scoring a goal is also the longest in Chivas club history, and now the eighth-longest such streak in MLS history.
  • “It doesn’t feel impossible, but it doesn’t seem to be going our way in front of the goal,” said Chivas midfielder Peter Vagenas. “Their third goal where [Alvaro] Saborio spun [the ball] and then chipped it, had that been us it would have hit the post. That’s a feeling, and again, the only way to get out of that is to put your head down and continue to fight and try to manufacture something.”
  • Chivas USA have been shut out 14 times this season, tied for the fourth-most in a single season in MLS history. The record is 17, set in 2010 by D.C. United. “We just need to be able to score some goals. Get a lead for once and not always be playing from behind. It’s difficult when you’re chasing the game,” said fullback Ante Jazic.
  • For the sixth time in the last 12 games, Chivas allowed three or more goals in a game, conceding 31 goals in that stretch. They have allowed 49 goals for the season, third-most in MLS.
  • “We conceded four goals, a large number again. We didn’t play too poorly, we had some moments but in the end just individual mistakes and sloppiness in the back and just in possession in our final third where we conceded soft goals that put us behind the ball and it’s difficult to play from there,” said Jazic.
  • Remarkably, Chivas USA are still mathematically alive for a place in the MLS Cup Playoffs, though they will be eliminated if they fail to win any of their final four remaining matches.
  • “Without a doubt, you don’t have a season like this and go without changes, no question,” Fraser said. “You evaluate everything and you determine where you can make your changes given all the restrictions and rules there are within the league. It’s not as easy as just going out and making changes. Certainly coming off a season like this, changes have to be made.”
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