April 21, 2009 MLS Toronto FC vs Chivas USA pregame (from MLSnet.com)

TFC look to halt skid against Chivas USA
Reds look to halt skid against unbeaten Red-and-White
04/21/2009 05:41 PM
MLSnet.com Staff

BMO FIELD, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
April 22, 2009 (WEEK 6) / MLS Game #37
7:30 p.m. CT (GolTV Can.)

The team with the best record in Major League Soccer, Chivas USA, head to the Eastern time zone for the first time this season when they meet a Toronto FC side looking to reverse a recent skid. Chivas USA are undefeated in five matches on the season, with four victories and league's best defense. Toronto FC are still looking for a second win on the season, with two losses and two draws in their last four matches.

REFEREE: Ricardo Salazar. SAR (bench): Joe Fletcher; JAR (opposite): Philippe Briere; 4th: Steven DePiero
MLS Career: 83 games; FC/gm: 29.2; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 23; pens: 28

INJURY REPORT: TORONTO FC - OUT: FW O'Brian White (knee); MF Dwayne De Rosario (hamstring) ... CHIVAS USA -- OUT: FW Justin Braun (R knee sprain); DF Bobby Burling (sports hernia surgery); FW Maykel Galindo (sports hernia surgery); DF Ante Jazic (concussion); GK Dan Kennedy (R knee sprain); FW Ante Razov (R ankle surgery); DF Claudio Suαrez (L calf strain); DF Lawson Vaughn (L ankle surgery); MF Sasha Victorine (L knee surgery)

ALL-TIME (4 meetings): Toronto FC 0 wins, 2 goals ... Chivas USA 4 wins, 9 goals ... Ties 0
AT TORONTO (2 meetings): Toronto FC 0 wins, 1 goals ... Chivas USA 4 wins, 5 goals ... Ties 0
RETURN MATCH: 8/22: Toronto FC at Chivas USA, 7:30 p.m. PT

8/30: CHV 2, TOR 1 (Eskandarian 20; Harris 90 - Brennan 19)
9/6: TOR 1, CHV 3 (Rosenlund 30 - Paladini 41; Bornstein 58; Razov 90)

• Chivas USA has won all four previous meetings between the clubs. In Toronto FC's first year, they were shutout in both matches; last year, they lost 2-1 in Carson and 3-1 at BMO Field.

• The teams met a year ago in a home-and-home series over two weekends.

• Coaches record: John Carver v CHV: P2 W0 L2 T0 ... Preki vs. TOR: P4 W4 L0 T0

Toronto FC saw their winless streak extended to four matches after a frustrating late 3-2 to FC Dallas on Sunday evening. TFC is tied for fifth place in the Eastern Conference with five points from five matches, now four points behind leaders Chicago Fire.

• FC Dallas and Toronto FC were meeting in the back end of their home-and-home series over two weekends, where a late equalizer had given FCD their first point on the season after three losses the week before. TFC were winless in three after a season-opening victory.

• The home side led by two goals just before halftime. In the 25th minute, Dax McCarty put in a freekick from the left flank and Drew Moor escaped his marker to head home for his first goal on the season. Then in the 44th minute, David Ferreira stole the ball and slipped it to Kenny Cooper, who lashed home a low drive from outside the area inside the right post.

• But just before the break, the Reds pulled level. A long corner found Carl Robinson unmarked beyond the far post, and he drove in a low centering pass that Adrian Serioux -- obtained from FC Dallas in the offseason -- turned into the goal from close range.

• Then in the 59th minute, TFC pulled even. A soaring ball from Fuad Ibrahim from the left flank was met with a clever midfield header from Amado Guevara, and he put it in behind the FCD defense to send Chad Barrett in alone on goal. Barrett coolly slid it past goalkeeper Ray Burse for his first on the season.

• Yet FCD went back ahead six minutes from the end. Ferreira popped the ball up in the area, and when it his Marvell Wynne's hand, referee Tim Weyland pointed to the spot. Cooper converted the penalty kick for his fourth goal on the year and sealed the first victory for Dallas on the year.

• Toronto FC coach John Carver made no changes to the team that played to the 1-1 draw with FC Dallas in the front end of their home-and-home series.

• Here's Carver's team (4-3-1-2): Stefan Frei - Marvell Wynne, Kevin Harmse, Adrian Serioux, Jim Brennan - Sam Cronin, Carl Robinson, Fuad Ibrahim (Marco Velez 86) - Amado Guevara (Danny Dichio 90) - Chad Barrett, Dwayne De Rosario (Pablo Vitti 74). Substitutes Not Used: Nana Attakora-Gyan, Rohan Ricketts, Johann Smith, Greg Sutton

• Carver was pleased with the response his team showed in getting back into the game after falling behind by two goals on the road. It was TFC's first road loss this year after going 1-0-1 away from home to start the season. The club's all-time road record coming into this season was 4-21-5.

• "In the second half I asked them to take some responsibility and they showed a bit of character," Carver said. "Obviously getting a goal on the stroke of halftime (from Serioux) on a set play that we worked on -- I'm pleased it's come off. We came out in the second half and dominated the game and deservedly so go back into it. It's very disappointing not to come away with something, let alone losing the game."

• But worse than losing the game for TFC, perhaps, could be losing star offseason acquisision Dwayne De Rosario for an extended period of time. After sitting out training sessions early last week with a tight hamstring, De Rosario hobbled off the field midway through the second half.

• "He's almost certainly out on Wednesday and doubtful for the following game," Carver said.

• Chad Barrett finally broke through and scored his first goal of the season, netting the equalizer. "I think I came out flat the first half, it kind of felt like I have been [flat] a couple of games this season," Barrett said. "It would have been nice to come out stronger, maybe I would have had a couple more chances. Hopefully people will stop talking about that and I can just get back to playing my game."

• Said Carver: "I've got faith in the guy and I think he restored that today. If I've got to rely on the fans and the press on what team I'm going to pick, then I'm wasting my time. I'm going to pick the team that I want to pick and I'll live and die by that."

• The game in Dallas started a stretch of eight games in 27 days for TFC, which includes the kickoff of the club's second venture into the Canadian Championship, the qualifier for the CONCACAF Champions' League against Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Montreal Impact.

• "It's three games in a short period of time. We have to do it, we have to get on with it," Carver said. "This is when you take a look at your squad and if I need to rotate it then I'll do that. It's a cliche, but you take it one game at a time.

Chivas USA took control on the Western Conference, defeating Seattle Sounders FC 2-0 in a top-of-the-table clash Saturday night at The Home Depot Center. Chivas are still unbeaten on the season with 13 points from five matches, now four ahead of Seattle as they also lead the MLS overall table.

• Chivas USA were leading the Western Conference and the overall table after three wins and a draw to open the season, just a point ahead of Sounders FC, who had started their history with three shutout victories before their first loss the weekend before.

• Sounders FC goalkeeper Kasey Keller was suspended after being sent off the weekend before, and Chris Eylander, making his first MLS start, was unfortunately beaten in the 32nd minute. Jonathan Bornstein was freed on the left side of the area and tried to cut a cross back across goal, but it was deflected into his own goal by Seattle defender James Riley.

• Chivas USA put the game away six minutes from the end. Set racing down the left side, substitute Bojan Stepanovic dribbled into the box before laying the ball back for Chukwudi Chijindu, and he slid in to stab home from the spot for his first career professional goal.

• Chivas USA head coach Preki made two changes to the team that played to a scoreless draw with the LA Galaxy the week before. Paulo Nagamura was suspended after being sent off in that game, so Bojan Stepanovic and Alecko Eskandarian came into the team with Atiba Harris moving back to midfield, with Gerson Mayen going to the substitutes' bench.

• Here's Preki's team (4-4-2): Zach Thornton - Mariano Trujillo, Carey Talley, Shavar Thomas, Jonathan Bornstein - Atiba Harris (Gerson Mayen 76), Sacha Kljestan, Jesse Marsch, Bojan Stepanovic - Alecko Eskandarian (Michael Lahoud 70), Eduardo Lillingston (Chukwudi Chijindu 56). Substitutes Not Used: Jim Curtin, Jorge Flores, Lance Parker

• "I thought it was a really good game, a really hard-fought game. They're a very, very good team, and if you watch, there's a number of guys out there that can hurt you at any given moment," Preki said. "I thought in the first half, maybe they had one or two opportunities better than us, but we worked hard, we made it difficult for them, and on the other side we got a goal through a decent play."

• Preki has not kept the same lineup for any of the five games thus far this season. "We're playing with a lot of confidence right now and playing with a lot of desire to win and lot of discipline," Chivas midfielder Sacha Kljestan said to the San Bernardino Sun. "With a lot of guys on the team, everyone's been working very hard for each other and that's the key. It probably took some time to get used to switching the lineups a lot. We've had a little bit more continuity this year so that's helped as well."

• Three newcomers combined for the third Chivas goal. Gerson Mayen, who had started the last three games, came off the bench and recorded his third assist, starting the play. Bojan Stepanovic, making his first start after three substitute appearances, then set up Chukwudi Chijindu for his first MLS goal in his first extended minutes.

• "They are working their socks off for each other and that's a really good thing to see," Preki said. "As coaches we don't have to worry if there is going to be commitment on the field. You see that commitment from every single guy. It's tremendous and also the guys who come off the bench, they're doing their job pretty good."

• While there was a small crack in the club's injury woes - Alecko Eskandarian made his first start of the season after making his first appearance the week before, there are still as many as seven regulars who are out injured.

• "We're playing good football and we're defending really well," midfielder Sacha Kljestan said. "We never gave up hope, if we didn't have guys on the field or not. I think that we just dealt with it and we've played."

• Chivas USA has taken nine points from their three home games for the best record on their own ground this year, and they have allowed just two goals from their five games, the best defensive record in the league.

• "I don't think there's any team in MLS that's stepped up and looked the best over the first five games and said they're a contender," Kljestan said. "We've won four out of five and tied one so I think you can say that we're up there right now and I'm proud of that fact."

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