Preview: Crew vs. Chivas USA

Crew look to take down Chivas at the Home Depot Center

Coming off a first point of 2011, Chivas USA return home to face another Eastern Conference foe when the Columbus Crew come to The Home Depot Center. Chivas went on the road for the first time last weekend and came away with a draw at Toronto FC. The Crew are coming off their first victory of the season, a 2-0 home defeat of FC Dallas.

REFEREE: Yader Reyes. SAR (bench): Peter Manikowski; JAR (opposite): Claudio Badea; 4th: Alejandro Mariscal

MLS Career: 11 games; FC/gm: 24.8; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 3; pens: 0

INJURY REPORT: CHIVAS USA – OUT: FW Tristan Bowen (L ankle sprain); MF Blair Gavin (L hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Jimmy Conrad (concussion); MF Simon Elliott (R knee sprain); MF Paulo Nagamura (L calf strain) …

COLUMBUS CREW – OUT: FW Andres Mendoza (L adductor strain), DF Shaun Francis (L hamstring strain); MF Danny O'Rourke (L knee surgery); PROBABLE: GK Andy Gruenebaum (R adductor strain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

SUSPENDED: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME (12 meetings): Chivas USA 6 wins, 18 goals … Crew 4 wins, 15 goals … Ties 2

AT THE HOME DEPOT CENTER (6 meetings): Chivas USA 5 wins, 11 goals … Crew 1 win, 6 goals … Ties 0

RETURN MATCH: 5/28: Columbus Crew vs. Chivas USA, 7:30 p.m. ET

LAST YEAR (MLS):

5/15:CLB 1, CHV 0 (Barros Schelotto 90)

7/31: CHV 3, CLB 1 (Braun 37; Gavin 45; Borja 53 – Lenhart 88)

  • Neither team has won on the road in the series since 2005, Chivas
    USA’s inaugural season, when the teams split their two games by each
    winning at the other’s ground.
  • Chivas USA have won the last four meetings at The Home Depot Center; Columbus the last three at Crew Stadium.
  • Coaches record: Robert Warzycha v CHV: P6 W3 L3 T0 … Robin Fraser vs. CLB: first game

CHIVAS USA

  • Chivas USA took their first point on the 2011 season, playing to a
    1-1 draw with Toronto FC on Saturday afternoon at BMO Field. Chivas USA
    have 1 point from 3 games on the season, in a three-way tie at the foot
    of the Western Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • But the home side pulled even nine minutes before the halftime break when Alan Gordon was left unmarked in the box and easily headed in Jacob Peterson’s freekick from the left side.
  • Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser made three changes to the team that lost 1-0 to the Colorado Rapids at The Home Depot Center. Dan Kennedy came in between the posts for Zach Thornton, Andrew Boyens
    and Alejandro Moreno returned from international duty and Jorge Flores
    made his first start, with Jimmy Conrad and Blair Gavin injured and Victor Estupinan going to the substitutes’ bench.

TEAM NEWS

  • Alejandro Moreno returned to the Chivas USA lineup after missing the
    previous weekend while on international duty, and scored his first goal
    while wearing the Red-and-White.
  • "Everyone in the attacking end is better when Alejandro is there,"
    Fraser said. "He helps us in terms of making decisions and helps them in
    terms of where they need to be and what they need to be doing. He's a
    natural leader, who has played in a lot of situations."
  • Moreno’s goal came after just two minutes, after Chivas USA had been
    shut out in their previous two matches, a league loss to Colorado and a
    U.S. Open Cup defeat by Portland.
  • "We came out of Portland feeling very positive, and (against
    Toronto) we had a lively and energetic start," Fraser said. "I would
    have liked to see more out of that start, but to get a goal is a good
    way to go, with our group, we're good and aggressive in spurts, but we
    need to be more consistent over 90 minutes."
  • With Blair Gavin suffering a hamstring injury that forced him off
    barely a half-hour into the Colorado match, Jorge Flores was given the
    start in midfield – and the former Sueño MLS winner contributed to the
    opening goal.
  • “We started on the front foot -- we were aggressive,” Fraser said.
    “Even if you look at the goal: Jorge Flores sticks with that play, when
    the ball easily could have gotten lost, and Alejandro is in with an
    aggressive move. That goal was sheer effort.”
  • Injuries caused some other changes for Fraser. Holding midfielder
    Michael Lahoud was moved to right back with Heath Pearce moving
    centrally, in the absence of Jimmy Conrad and Michael Umaña.
  • Ben Zemanski, who had deputized in central defense against Colorado, returned to the center of midfield.
  • “We have a lot of possession-oriented players, maybe not as
    goal-oriented as we need. For me, that is the sort of thing this team
    needs to do, it needs to be aggressive on the attacking end of the
    field,” Fraser said.

COLUMBUS CREW

  • The Columbus Crew built off their first point with a first win on
    the season, defeating FC Dallas 2-0 on Friday evening at Crew Stadium.
    The Crew have 4 points from 3 games on the season, in a four-way tie for
    fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • The game turned for the visitors shortly after the opening
    half-hour, when Jackson was sent off in the 33rd minute for a pair of
    cautions a minute apart.
  • The Crew then took the lead in the 54th minute. Following a nice buildup, Emmanuel Ekpo
    was sprung on the right flank and found Andres Mendoza in the area. He
    then put the ball under the left arm of diving goalkeeper Kevin Hartman.
  • Columbus finished off the match in the first minute of added time when Eddie Gaven coolly cut back onto his left foot and stroked home a shot from just outside the area.
  • Crew head coach Robert Warzycha made no changes to the team that played to a scoreless draw with the New York Red Bulls at Crew Stadium.

TEAM NEWS

  • Goalkeeper William Hesmer made seven saves as the Crew recorded a second consecutive shutout.
  • “It’s not just him,” Gaven said. “It’s everybody back there. It was
    good team defense – something we’re definitely going to need to be
    successful. It was a good overall team effort. Even when their guy got
    the red card, we were playing very, very well. We kept it going.”
  • Seconds after coming on as a substitute in the 2-0 win against FC
    Dallas, Jeff Cunningham had a glorious opportunity, but fired his effort
    into the side netting. Cunningham is still one shy of Jaime Moreno’s
    MLS career record 133 regular-season goals.
  • “For a second, I thought I was offside. And then being just
    introduced into the match the excitement of the possible record tying
    goal – there was a lot of emotion into that brief three seconds of
    action,” said Cunningham.
  • “I wish I had that one back, but I’m happy the team played well
    tonight and got three points. It’s important to steer us in a positive
    direction.”
  • The Crew had started each of the first three games with a pair of
    holding midfielders in Kevin Burns and Dejan Rusmir. But Warzycha
    changed the system at halftime against FC Dallas while a man up,
    bringing on Emilio Renteria to partner Andres Mendoza in a twin-striker
    setup.
  • “Sometimes it’s tough to play with the man advantage because you
    think everything is going to fall your way,” Warzycha said. “At some
    point, we gave a little bit of the momentum to Dallas. But in the end,
    we controlled the game again. We had some chances at the end and we
    finally scored one.”
  • Sebastian Miranda started the opening game at right back with rookie
    Rich Balchan on the left, then the two switched sides vs. New York.
    They returned to the opening day formation against FC Dallas.
  • “Miranda has played right back his whole career,” Chad Marshall
    said. “That’s where he’s most comfortable. He’s got a good right foot.
    He’s got the wheels to put up some good crosses. Being on the left,
    didn’t happen as much.”