Matchday Preview | Chivas USA vs. Portland Timbers - October 26, 2013
CHIVAS USA vs PORTLAND TIMBERS
STUBHUB CENTER, Carson, Calif.
Oct. 26, 2013 (WEEK 35, MLS Game #318)
7:30 p.m. PT (ROOT SPORTS, 101 FM KXL / La Pantera 940)
Chivas USA close out their 2013 MLS season with a crucial contest in the Western Conference playoff race as they play host to the Portland Timbers on Saturday evening at StubHub Center. Chivas return home following a 2-1 midweek loss to Real Salt Lake, having already been eliminated from playoff contention. The Timbers secured their first MLS postseason berth a week ago, but now have the Western Conference regular season crown and a possible Supporters’ Shield in their sights, hitting the road after a scoreless draw with RSL a week ago.
The Portland Timbers extended their undefeated run to seven games, playing to a scoreless draw with Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening at JELD-WEN Field. The Timbers lead the Western Conference with 54 points from 33 matches.
The first shot on target for either side did not come until the second half. Portland put three shots on frame – all requiring exceptional work by RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando to stop.
Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts was not required to make a single save in recording his 13th shutout of the season, tied for the MLS lead.
Timbers head coach Caleb Porter made one change to the team that defeated Seattle Sounders FC 1-0 at JELD-WEN Field. Diego Valeri came into the team in place of Maximiliano Urruti.
- PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-2-3-1): Donovan Ricketts - Jack Jewsbury, Pa Modou Kah, Futty Danso, Michael Harrington - Diego Chara, Will Johnson - Kalif Alhassan (Sal Zizzo 88), Diego Valeri (Rodney Wallace 63), Darlington Nagbe - Jose Valencia (Frederic Piquionne 68)
Before the draw, the Timbers had clinched a place in the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time in club history, in their third season in the league.
“I think it’s something that might get lost in the shuffle here and I think that’s OK,” Timbers head coach Caleb Porter said. “We’ve evolved this club so quickly and gotten so many good results this year and we’re so confident that to some extent making the playoffs isn’t something we talk about much or even celebrate much. And I think that’s a real positive.”
Said defender Jack Jewsbury: “Honestly it means a lot to [our fans], to us players. And for us to be able to repay them for their support through some of the tough times, it means a lot.”
The Timbers recorded their fifth consecutive shutout at JELD-WEN Field and have not allowed a goal at home since Aug. 21, a span of 450 minutes. Over that time, they have not allowed more than three shots on target in any of those games.
“When you're a team that's so organized and disciplined, which we are, we've got a group that works hard,” said Porter. “Not just the back line, they get a lot of credit, [Donovan] Ricketts get credit, and those guys should because they're good and they're mature and experienced. It's the entire 11 guys chipping in.”
The Timbers also extended their home undefeated streak to 15 games, since losing to the Montréal Impact 3-2 on March 9 in Portland in the second game of the season. The league record is 30 games, set over three seasons (2011-13) by the Houston Dynamo before ending this May 12.
It was the 13th shutout of the season in league play for goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, tied with Sporting KC’s Jimmy Nielsen for the league lead entering the final week of the season.
The Timbers did not allow a single shot on target to Real Salt Lake, the first time in the club’s MLS history they’ve done that. They have recorded 11 shutouts at JELD-WEN Field this season, among 14 total shutouts for the team.
“We’re playing Seattle, we’re playing LA Galaxy, we’re playing Colorado, we’re playing Salt Lake,” Porter said. “And we’ve done well against those teams. So I think that gives us a lot of confidence going into the postseason because we’re in a run of form. … We’re looking like a team that’s primed for the postseason.”
The Timbers can still claim the Supporters’ Shield, emblematic of the best overall record in MLS, with a victory vs. Chivas USA and a loss by the New York Red Bulls and the failure of Sporting KC to win.
“Right now, more important than anything, we want to focus on getting three points, which will mean we're going into the postseason in form, on a very good run, and it will mean we avoid the play-in game,” Porter said. “Ultimately that's what we're trying to do, is going into the postseason in the best position possible so we can make a legitimate run to win it all."
- Diego Valeri was able to return to the Timbers starting lineup after a one-match absence, making just his third start over the last seven matches while battling an adductor strain.
Chivas USA went down to a fourth consecutive loss, falling 2-1 to Real Salt Lake on Wednesday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. Chivas USA sit in ninth place in the Western Conference with 26 points from 33 matches.
Real took the lead four minutes into the second half. After Chivas midfielder Edgar Mejía was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box by referee Silviu Petrescu, RSL's Álvaro Saborío stepped up and drilled the resulting spot kick to the right side of the net as goalkeeper Tim Melia dove left.
Just three minutes later, the lead was doubled. Javier Morales was dispossessed of the ball inside the restraining arc, but it fell right in front of Joao Plata, and he caught Melia flat-footed as he banged in a low shot from 20 yards out.
Chivas USA pulled a goal back in the 77th minute when Julio Morales slipped past defender Tony Beltran to latch onto a long ball played over the RSL back line by Carlo Chueca, poking it past goalkeeper Nick Rimando from inside the box as he came off his line.
Chivas USA head coach José Luis Real made three changes to the team that fell 5-0 to the LA Galaxy at StubHub Center. Tim Melia came in between the posts in place of Dan Kennedy, and Oswaldo Minda and Eric Avila came into the midfield, replacing Bobby Burling and Matthew Fondy.
- CHIVAS USA (4-2-3-1): Tim Melia - Carlos Borja, Mario de Luna, Carlos Bocanegra, Jaime Frias - Edgar Mejia, Oswaldo Minda (Matthew Fondy 76) - Eric Avila, Carlos Alvarez (Carlo Chueca 58), Bryan de la Fuente (Julio Morales 76) - Erick Torres.
Chivas USA will conclude their season riding a four-game losing streak. A year ago, they finished the campaign with a 14-game winless slide.
“The game was exactly what we were expecting. Coming off the worst game of the season so far, we knew that we were facing a very strong team,” said Chivas USA head coach Jose Luis Real. “The game was very tight but that was a penalty kick that shouldn’t have been a penalty kick. It was a mistake from us.”
With goalkeeper Dan Kennedy nursing an abdominal strain, Tim Melia made his first first-team appearance of the season. Kennedy was missing just his second league match, having been suspended for the May 12 game vs. Portland.
“I felt pretty good about my performance. You know I’m still getting back from surgery so I’m still trying to get back in the swing of things,” Melia said. “There are still some things that I have to clean up. But I’m more worried with the result than with my performance.”
Julio Morales made his first appearance since Sept. 8, coming off the substitutes’ bench to score his second goal of the season, his first coming on Aug. 25.
“Today was a rough day for Bryan de la Fuente. He didn’t have his best game. Bryan gave a great physical effort but he couldn’t handle the last few minutes he was in,” said Real. “Morales, being one of the younger guys we have incorporated in this season, took advantage of the opportunity. The substitutes made a great change to the game. They put in a great performance and really brought some hype back for the last segment.”
Carlo Chueca made his fourth MLS appearance, his first after not featuring for the last two matches, and recording his first assist with Chivas USA on the goal.
After playing a wide midfield role in the loss to the LA Galaxy, Carlos Borja returned to right back against RSL, with Mario de Luna shifting inside to partner Carlos Bocanegra in central defense.
- “It was a whole lot better than last week. We had a good first half I thought. We were moving around, we had a few good chances. If we had taken a better first touch or if we had worked on goal in some of the counter attacks, things might be different,” said Bocanegra. “… I think we got caught on the second goal trying to open play a little bit so that was disappointing. Obviously the level of play was a lot higher than the last few weeks. I think that is really the biggest thing.”
REFEREE: Drew Fischer. AR1 (bench): Kevin Klinger; AR2 (opposite): Baboucarr Jallow; 4th: Daniel Radford
MLS Career: 23 games; FC/gm: 25.7; Y/gm: 2.9; R: 2; pens: 6
DISABLED LIST: CHV: Daniel Antuñez … POR: Mikael Silvestre (season-ending injury); Ryan Miller (season-ending injury); Brent Richards (season-ending injury)
FINED NEXT YELLOW CARD: CHV: Mario de Luna … POR: Pa Modou Kah, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Ben Zemanski
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (7 meetings): Chivas USA 4 wins, 6 goals … Timbers 2 wins, 6 goals …Ties 1
AT CHIVAS USA (4 meetings): Chivas USA 2 wins, 3 goals … Timbers 0 wins, 1 goal … Ties 1
5/12: POR 3, CHV 0 (Wallace 34; Valeri 70; W. Johnson 93+)
9/14: CHV 1, POR 1 (de la Fuente 23 – Valeri 50)
- The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Rodney Wallace, Diego Valeri and Will Johnson all scored in a 3-0 Timbers victory, May 12 in Portland; the teams reached a 1-1 draw Sept. 14 at StubHub Center.
- Chivas has won four of the seven meetings all-time in the league series – all three meetings between the teams a season ago, including both matches at Jeld-Wen Field. The Timbers did win a U.S. Open Cup play-in game between teams in 2010.
- Coaches record: José Luis Real vs. POR: P1 W0 L0 T1 … Caleb Porter vs. CHV: P2 W1 L0 T1
LAST MEETING (MLS)
- Chivas USA took the lead in the 23rd minute. After a well-worked sequence through the midfield, Bryan de la Fuente flicked a header to the top right corner from the heart of the area for the opener.
- But Diego Valeri, just five minutes after coming on as a halftime substitute, potted the equalizer with a powerful strike past Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy from inside the box.
- CHIVAS USA (4-4-1-1): Dan Kennedy - Mario de Luna (Carlo Chueca 77), Bobby Burling, Carlos Bocanegra, Carlos Borja - Eric Avila (Tristan Bowen 88), Edgar Mejia, Oswaldo Minda, Bryan de la Fuente - Carlos Alvarez (Matthew Fondy 56) - Erick Torres.
- PORTLAND TIMBERS (4-2-3-1): Donovan Ricketts - Sal Zizzo, Pa Modou Kah, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Michael Harrington - Will Johnson, Diego Chara - Kalif Alhassan (Diego Valeri 46), Darlington Nagbe, Rodney Wallace (Maximiliano Urruti 72) - Jose Valencia (Ryan Johnson 81).