Match preview: Colorado Rapids vs. Chivas USA, May 11

Rapids looking to stretch their unbeaten run over Western Conference rivals to 12 games

COLORADO RAPIDS vs CHIVAS USA
DICK’S SPORTING GOODS PARK, Commerce City, Colo.
May 11, 2014 (WEEK 10, MLS Game #90)
1 p.m. MT (Altitude)

The Colorado Rapids return home for a weekend match in the Western Conference when they take on Chivas USA on Sunday afternoon at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids hit the road in midweek, recording a scoreless draw at the San Jose Earthquakes. Chivas USA are looking to snap an eight-game winless run, their previous match a 4-1 home loss to the Houston Dynamo last weekend.

REFEREE: Fotis Bazakos.
MLS Career: 25 games; FC/gm: 25.7; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 6; pens: 7

AR1 (bench): George Gansner; AR2 (opposite): Eric Boria; 4th: Juan Guzman

SUSPENDED: CHV: Tim Melia (through May 11)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: CHV: Oswaldo Minda
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CHV: Carlos Alvarez, Bobby Burling
DISABLED LIST: COL: Vicente Sanchez
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (25 meetings): Rapids 13 wins, 43 goals … Chivas USA 5 wins, 26 goals … Ties 7
AT COLORADO (12 meetings): Rapids 5 wins, 25 goals … Chivas USA 1 win, 12 goals … Ties 6
RETURN MATCHES: 7/25: Colorado Rapids vs. Chivas USA, 7:30 p.m. MT; 10/11: Chivas USA vs. Colorado Rapids, 8:30 p.m. MT

LAST YEAR (MLS):
4/13: CHV 0, COL 1 (Brown 7)
5/25: COL 2, CHV 0 (Harris 11; Sturgis 78)
8/11: CHV 1, COL 1 (Alvarez 5 – Rivero 80)

  • The Rapids have not lost to Chivas USA since March 21, 2009, going 8-0-3 in the 11 matches since.
  • The Rapids have taken points from each of their last five visits to take on Chivas in Carson (4-0-1), over the past four seasons.
  • Colorado has a six-game undefeated streak alive against Chivas USA at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, dating back to 2008. The Rapids have won four of the six meetings since in Commerce City, with two draws.
  • Coaches record: Pablo Mastroeni vs. CHV: first game … Wilmer Cabrera vs. COL: first game

COLORADO RAPIDS
The Colorado Rapids recorded their second shutout in as many games, playing for a second goalless draw with the San Jose Earthquakes this season, this time on Wednesday evening at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Rapids are in fourth place in the Western Conference with 15 points from nine games.

LAST MATCH

  • Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin made seven saves and several of the spectacular variety to keep the clean sheet. None were bigger than an 88th-minute deflection off Chris Wondolowski’s attempt from seven yards, which caromed off the post and back out.
  • Quakes 'keeper Jon Busch was credited with four saves at the other end.
  • Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni made eight changes to the team that defeated the LA Galaxy 1-0 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Only Irwin and defenders Drew Moor and Chris Klute kept their place in the side.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-2): Clint Irwin - Thomas Piermayr, Shane O'Neill, Drew Moor, Chris Klute - Kamani Hill, Dillon Powers (Nathan Sturgis 70), Jared Watts, Charles Eloundou (Dillon Serna 77) - Gabriel Torres, Edson Buddle.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Rapids have recorded shutouts in four of their last five matches, wrapped around the 4-1 loss at Seattle Sounders FC. They have a 195-minute scoreless streak alive.
  • “I think we came in with the right mindset: try and go at them. We had a few chances at goal in the first half, had a few in the second half and I think most importantly that the effort was there, the mindset was there, the mentality was there, and they fought hard to get a point in a really tough place to play,” said Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni.
  • Clint Irwin made seven saves in preserving his fourth shutout of the season, one off his career-high for saves in a game, set on April 26 of this year in the 4-1 loss to Seattle.
  • “We allowed them to get in a couple dangerous positions, especially there in the second half and he did his thing,” said defender Drew Moor. “He did what he had to do. Sometimes when you come in, like I said, in tough places like this, you need your ‘keeper to do that and we’ll certainly buy his dinner tonight.”
  • Said Irwin: “It’s disappointing when you don’t win, but a point on the road is good. What we’ve been good in the back at is keeping clean sheets, and we did a good job of that.”
  • Dillon Powers returned to the Rapids lineup in a central midfield role after missing a pair of matches, his last match the first scoreless draw with San Jose.
  • Charles Eloundou made his first start in MLS, playing the left side of midfield. Eloundou had appeared in two matches as a substitute.
  • Kamani Hill started on the right side of midfield and played the full 90 minutes for the first time in MLS, in what was his first appearance since starting April 5 vs. Vancouver.
  • “I think we struggled to find the game at times offensively. We did create some half-chances here and there, had to defend for long stretches in the second half, but we had a good game plan,” said Moor. “We matched their intensity, which is always a good game plan here and you can’t be too disappointed with it.”

CHIVAS USA
Chivas USA had their winless streak stretched to eight matches, the Houston Dynamo coming back for a 4-1 victory on Saturday evening at StubHub Center. Chivas USA sit in a tie for eighth place in the Western Conference with six points from nine games.

LAST MATCH

  • Chivas USA grabbed a quick lead in the seventh minute. After Dynamo midfielder Brad Davis brought down Carlos Alvarez inside the box, Erick Torres converted the resulting penalty kick.
  • But the Dynamo were level five minutes later. Davis maneuvered past Eric Avila and Bobby Burling as he moved from right to left across the area, beating goalkeeper Tim Melia. Giles Barnes then put the Dynamo ahead in the 32nd minute, making the most of space in front of him following a long pass from Boniek GarcÌa and finished with a scintillating drive.
  • The Dynamo made it 3-1 before halftime as Will Bruin held off a defender while receiving a pass in the area and hit a shot on the turn past Melia.
  • The rout was complete at the three-quarter when Melia was adjudged to have fouled Bruin in the area, earning a red card from referee Sorin Stoica. Barnes then beat substitute goalkeeper Trevor Spangenberg from the spot with the resulting penalty.
  • Chivas USA head coach Wilmer Cabrera made two changes to the team that lost 1-0 to the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium. Tim Melia came in between the posts for the suspended Dan Kennedy, and Adolfo Bautista started up top in place of Mauro Rosales.
  • CHIVAS USA (4-4-2): Tim Melia (ejected 67) - Eric Avila, Bobby Burling, Carlos Bocanegra, Donny Toia - Carlos Alvarez, Oswaldo Minda, Agustin Pelletieri (Martin Rivero 46), Leandro Barrera - Adolfo Bautista (Luke Moore 46), Erick Torres (Trevor Spangenberg 68)

TEAM NEWS

  • Chivas USA saw their losing slide reach three matches and their overall winless streak hit eight games, after winning the season opener vs. Chicago on March 2.
  • “The worst that I think happened to us was scoring a goal so early because then we started just to walk, we didn’t even put pressure on them, we didn’t figure it out, and it was a wake-up for Houston and they reacted very well, and they showed character and personality, and we didn’t,” said Chivas USA head coach Wilmer Cabrera. “They scored three goals in the first half and it was too easy for them because we didn’t put any pressure, we didn’t block, we didn’t play well.”
  • Mauro Rosales was unavailable for the first time this season after suffering a right adductor strain that forced him from the park during the San Jose match.
  • “We missed his character and personality, definitely. … We couldn’t figure it out. It was too casual but that’s my responsibility and if they didn’t play well in the first half, I’ll take all full responsibility because it’s on me,” said Cabrera.
  • Said defender Bobby Burling: “Mauro [Rosales] is a playmaker and he’s very good on set pieces, he’s very good to the run of play. This was our first game without him, but at the same time we have to be prepared, depth-wise, to have guys plugged in. They are not going to do the same things as Mauro but we have to eliminate the mistakes and bring the cohesiveness together as guys come in and out of the lineup.”
  • Adolfo Bautista made his first start in MLS, playing the first half in the attack partnership with Erick Torres. Bautista had come on as a substitute in six of the first eight matches.
  • “We need to help [Bautista]. But it’s our responsibility. It’s the players’ responsibility. We have to pass the ball to his feet, we cannot make him run and slide tackle and just make him mark, because that’s not Bofo’s strength. His strengths are, give the ball to his feet and you let him play when you pass the ball to him,” said Cabrera. “Because we didn’t do it in the first half, we didn’t want to sacrifice him for the second half, to make him run and run and run. We have to be able to understand that Bofo is going to help us when we pass the ball to his feet, when we have the personality. But not him, the rest of the team to pass the ball, to move the ball, and he is going to help us and give us more.”
  • Torres scored his seventh goal of the season, one off the MLS Golden Boot lead held by Seattle Sounders FC striker Clint Dempsey. Four of the goals have come from penalty kicks.
  • For a second consecutive match, Chivas USA saw their goalkeeper sent off, when Tim Melia earned a straight red card midway through the second half. Dan Kennedy had been sent off in the 77th minute vs. San Jose.
  • In Melia’s place, Trevor Spangenberg came in between the posts for his MLS debut. “We made some good changes, some guys brought in some energy and then obviously the back pass to Tim wasn’t as strong as I wanted to make it,” said Burling. “I put him in a bad spot. I told Trevor [Spangenberg], I hate to see a guy come on and make his debut in a situation like that and I took full blame for that one.”
  • Martin Rivero also made his Chivas USA debut, coming on at halftime into a central midfield role.