Chivas USA look to translate recent home success to the road
When Chivas USA battle Eastern Conference side the Houston Dynamo this Saturday at BBVA Compass Stadium as part of Major League Soccer’s Week 30, they will do so looking to continue the momentum they started with their recent home results. The problem, however, has indeed come on the road, where the Red-and-White have not won away from the StubHub Center since March.
WATCH: Chivas USA vs Houston Dynamo Preview
Since then the Goats have secured ties in just three road matches, but have been buoyed at home with their unbeaten run of six out of the last seven games in Carson. Should the club come away with three points in the Lone Star State they will hand Head Coach Jose Luis Real his first road win in nine tries since his taking over in June. Aside from Real, the Rojiblancos have never won in 10 all-time meetings at Houston since the start of the series in 2006.
Chivas, however, must do so against a Dynamo squad that sits in sole possession of fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 40 points and is 1-3-1 in their last five league matches. Houston enters the match looking to remain among the top five in their conference and hold off Chicago, Philadelphia and New England, who are all in striking distance and trailing the Dynamo by three points or less.
READ: Palencia remembers the importance of playoff match vs Houston
Saturday’s match will mark the first and only meeting of the season between the sides because of MLS’ unbalanced schedule. Houston took last year’s meeting, 1-0, in the season opener at the then-called Home Depot Center. The clubs battled in a scoreless into stoppage time, where the Texas side was able to deliver the game-winner to steal three points on Andre Hainault’s score.
The win extended the Dynamo’s lead in the all-time series to 10-2-5. In addition to 17 all-time regular-season meetings, the clubs squared off in the playoffs in 2006. After enduring a four-win season in their expansion year in 2005, Chivas USA bounced back with a record of 10-9-13 and made their first of four playoff appearances. Chivas battled the Dynamo in the first round and took the first leg of the two-game series at home, 2-1, led by current Director of Soccer Francisco “Paco” Palencia’s game-winning goal. But Houston responded at home with a 2-0 shutout to advance to the next round in the aggregate and would go on to win the MLS Cup.
Despite 17 previous meetings, the 2013 editions enter Saturday’s match relatively unknown to each other, as goalkeeper and captain Dan Kennedy, along with midfielders Jorge Villafaña and Oswaldo Minda and backup keeper Tim Melia are among the four remaining Goats that suited up as part of the Red-and-White 18 in their last meeting. Since then, the Rojiblancos have revamped their roster under the leadership of Real and Palencia and will look to secure road points against a formidable Houston attack in search of reaching the MLS Cup final for the third-consecutive year.
Saturday’s match kicks off at 5:30 p.m. (PT) and will be televised in English on KDOC-TV and in Spanish on MundoFOX 22. Game action can also be followed in Spanish on W Radio 690 AM.
Click here to view a full PDF of the match’s Game Guide
Preview: Season kick-off for three youth squads
The U.S. Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) season is set to begin for Chivas USA’s U15/16 and U17/18 teams. Both squads travelled to the Pacific Northwest kick off the season. Meanwhile, after having a bye week, Chivas USA’s U14s will continue their activity by playing their second match of the USSDA season this weekend. In the meantime, Chivas USA’s U23 team, current State Champion, will be kicking off their season in the Coast Soccer League (CSL) this Saturday.
Kicking off the weekend action, the U17/18s will face the youth squad of the Portland Timbers this Saturday at 12 p.m. (PT) at Timbers Training Facility. A few hours later, the Red-and-White U15/16 squad will be looking for their first three points of the season, as they also face the Timbers. But the weekend won’t end in the state of Oregon for Chivas USA. That same day, the youth squads will travel to Seattle to comply with the first two games of the USSDA season as they face the Sounders. The U17/18 team will play on Sunday at 11 am (PT), while the U15/16 team will follow at 1:30 pm (PT).
In their second match of the season, Chivas USA’s U14 team will be looking for their second-consecutive win as they face FC Golden State this Saturday at 6 pm (PT) at Monrovia High School. The Red-and-White enter the match with a strong 5-2 victory over Santa Barbara Soccer Club in the beginning of the month. Meanwhile, the Riverside, Calif.-based team will look to maintain their strong start within the league, earning back-to-back victories in their first two games, going up to the second spot in the Southwest Division.
Chivas USA’s U23 team will be looking to extend their 11-game unbeaten streak facing Pomona United in their first match of the season this Saturday at 5 pm (PT) at the Bell Gardens Sports Complex. Although it will be the first match for the Red-and-White team, Pomona United has already kicked off the season, falling to Doxa Italia 5-2.
Follow all of the action within Chivas USA’s Youth Development Academy on our Twitter accounts: @ChivasUSAYouth & @cdchivasusa
Another member of the Alvarez Family shines with Chivas USA
He might only be 11 years old, but young Efrain Alvarez is not only a key player for Chivas USA’s U13 Team, but has been playing at a great level being two years younger than most of his rivals. His Coach, Brian Kleiban expresses wonders of the young center midfielder, but it’s his short, but bright résumé that speaks for itself.
While Chivas USA’s U13 Team was participating in the 2013 Volkswagen Junior Masters Tournament in late July, Efrain scored a total of five goals, helping his team get to the Championship Match.
But one thing that young Alvarez has to his benefit is being the brother of Chivas USA First Team midfielder Carlos Alvarez. Carlos might have a busy schedule with Major League Soccer’s Regular Season games, club events, among other commitments, but the one thing he always has time for is his family, coming out to a few of Efrain’s games and watching him play.
“I try to go to his games whenever I can because I was gone for four years at the University of Connecticut, so I wouldn’t see him as much, but now that I’m back, I try to go to every game,” the Chivas USA midfielder said. “He likes having fun with his team, like a regular kid. He loves the game and he looks forward to each week.”
Even though Carlos is just a rookie in MLS, Efrain looks up to his older brother. After a successful high school career in Salesian, Carlos went on to having a stellar performance at the University of Connecticut, time that led him to get drafted by Chivas USA as the second overall pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft.
Efrain was quite young when Carlos went off to college, but he witnessed first-hand the hard work that his brother put in in order to get to where he is today and he hopes that someday he, too, will make it as a professional.
“I feel like I’m a big part [in his life]. I feel that he looks up to me a lot and he obviously wants to make it to the next level; that’s everyone’s goal as a kid,” the elder Alvarez said. “He asks me how he played or if I saw when he took on a person or took a shot or scored a goal. I just tell him to keep it up and keep working hard; that’s the kind of advice I give him.
“As a youth, you think you have all the time in the world, but time runs. I just tell him to enjoy it as much as possible and just have fun,” Chivas USA rookie finished advising his young brother.
Antunez to help hurricane victims in Mexico
Chivas USA defender Daniel Antunez has teamed up with local community group, Fundacion Guerrerenses en California, to raise funds in benefit of victims of hurricanes Manuel and Ingrid. Antunez, who has family living in the affected state of Guerrero, along with Mexican singer Jose Manuel Figueroa, will be at the Curacao Santa Ana / Fountain Valley store on Saturday, Sept. 21 from 1-4 p.m.
Hurricane Manuel emerged in the southwest region of Mexico, hitting the state of Guerrero first, then re-emerged in the Gulf of California, striking against cities in Sinaloa, Mexico. So far, Hurricane Manuel has left 97 casualties, according to Reuters, with 58 others reported missing.
All proceeds of the fundraiser will be allocated toward buying food and water for the victims.
Chivas USA conclude their final session ahead of Saturday’s match
Chivas USA completed the last training session of their work week on Friday morning at the StubHub Center’s Field 6 as part of final preparations before their trip to Houston in the afternoon. The Goats reported to the pitch at 9:30 a.m. ahead of Saturday’s Week 30 match against the Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium.
The squad ran through a brief and light session under the watch of Head Coach Jose Luis Real and his coaching staff. Training kicked off with a jog around the pitch and returned for a session of stretches for initial warm-ups. Players then broke out into ball work in groups of three for short touches and rotation into vacant spaces after serving off their passes. Afterwards the group united to sharpen their set piece tactics in the final third with a goalkeeper in goal.
While part of the Rojiblancos concluded their morning with a set of supplementary stretches, several attackers participated in a build-up and distribution drill with the objective of finishing inside the box. The play would initiate in the defensive half of the pitch and conclude with a one-on-one matchup versus the keeper. Afterwards the group also completed supplementary stretches before exiting the field.
Saturday’s match at Houston is set to kick off at 5:30 p.m. (PT) and will be the only meeting between the sides this season. The game will be televised in English on KDOC-TV and in Spanish on MundoFOX 22. Radio-listeners can also follow the action in Spanish on W Radio 690 AM.