Tuesday, March 29, 2011
CHIVAS USA: Red card + late goals = another loss
By Scott French
Chivas USA's third outing under Robin Fraser was not unlike the first two, except for the red card.
The Goats played with great clarity at times, stringing together passes like a poor man's Real Salt Lake. And they defended well. Creating chances? Well, that just doesn't seem to part of their skill set yet.
The Portland Timbers, playing their first competitive home game as a Major League Soccer franchise, pulled out a 2-0 triumph in Tuesday's U.S. Open Cup qualifier on a wet, windy evening at the University of Portland's Merlo Field. Late goals by Jack Jewsbury and Eric Brunner made the difference, sending the home side to a second-round qualifier next month at San Jose.
Chivas, already missing five clear starters and two others expected to contribute, were down to 10 men after Andy Boyens picked up yellow cards in the 36th and 43rd minutes, the first for persistent infringement, the second -- accompanied, of course, by a red card -- after muscling Kenny Cooper to the ground.
Again, it was too much to overcome, and Chivas USA, despite solid play in certain areas in all three games, is 0-3 under Fraser -- and have not held a lead yet this season.
A quick look at Chivas' loss:
BEST PLAYER: Several impressed, no one more so than Portland right back Steve Purdy, who was superb defensively -- he made several big plays and prevented Chivas from creating from Marcos Mondaini's work on the flank. We also liked Kalif Alhassan and Peter Lowry in midfield and Jewsbury off the bench for the Timbers.
Chivas' best: Choose among Ben Zemanski, solid in just his second start in central defense; University of Portland alum Heath Pearce, excellent at left back and, after Boyens' expulsion, in the middle; and especially Justin Braun, who was Chivas' chief attacker most of the night.
BEST GOAL: Timbers captain Jewsbury broke the scoreless draw in the 84th minute with a tremendous 30-yard shot that skipped off the wet turf, past goalkeeper Dan Kennedy and just inside the left post. The goal followed Chivas' best chance, with Braun slipping behind the Portland backline and racing in 1-on-1 against Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson, who raced off his line and out of his box to slide-tackle the ball away. A couple of passes, and, boom, Jewsbury scores.
The Timbers doubled the advantage less than three minutes later, with Brunner knocking home a loose ball after his header from Jewsbury's corner kick was initially blocked.
BIGGEST STRUGGLE: It might have been playing with 10 men, except the Goats were better with 10 than with 11. They applied more pressure, enjoyed more possession and defended admirably until Jewsbury's strike.
More difficult, still, is creating chances. Braun played well, Mondaini showed some flair, rookie Victor Estupiņan was stronger than in Saturday's loss to Colorado, and Nick LaBrocca did well linking teammates, but it leads to nearly nothing.
There were four real opportunities for Chivas: Braun's 1-on-1 run before Jewsbury's goal, and two Mondaini chances -- one from a Braun through ball -- that were turned aside by Gleeson and another that hit a defender and had the Argentine winger calling for a hand ball that was not rewarded.
WORTH NOTING: Seth Owusu, starting at left back, made his Chivas USA debut. … Michael Lahoud, the holding midfielder in a 4-1-4-1 formation to start the game, went to right back after Pearce moved to the center as Fraser switched to a 4-3-2 formation. … Missing for the Goats: defenders Jimmy Conrad (concussion), Zarek Valentin (with U.S. U-20s) and Michael Umaņa (with Costa Rica's national team), midfielders Blair Gavin (hamstring strain), Paulo Nagamura (calf strain) and Simon Elliott (sprained knee), and forward Alejandro Moreno (with Venezuela's national team). … LaBrocca was captain in Conrad's absence. … Kevin Guppy (Chino Hills/Chino Hills HS and Cal State Northridge), who trained last week with Chivas USA, was the reserve goalkeeper for Portland, which has lost its top two netminders to injury.
NEXT: Saturday at Toronto FC, 10 a.m. PT (TV: Prime Ticket).
Merlo Field, University of Portland (Portland, Ore.)
Chivas USA: Dan Kennedy; Heath Pearce, Ben Zemanski (Tristan Bowen, 88), Andy Boyens, Seth Owusu (Ante Jazic, 63); Michael Lahoud; Justin Braun, Nick LaBrocca, Francisco Mendoza (Jorge Flores, 46), Marcos Mondaini; Victor Estupiņan. Unused subs: Sergio Arias, Gerson Mayen, Zach Thornton, Mariano Trujillo.
Portland Timbers 2, Chivas USA 0
P -- Jack Jewsbury 84
P -- Eric Brunner 87
Portland Timbers: Jake Gleeson; Steve Purdy, David Horst, Eric Brunner, Rodney Wallace; Kalif Alhassan, James Marcelin, Peter Lowry (Jack Jewsbury, 71), Ryan Pore (Jeremy Hall, 65); Jorge Perlaza, Kenny Cooper.
Yellow cards: Mondaini 14, Boyens 36, 43, Braun 50, Purdy 74, Hall 90. Red card: Boyens 43.
Referee: Juan Guzman. Att.: 5,061 (sellout).