Red-And-White Look to Advance in Open Cup
Chivas USA will face the L.A. Blues on Tuesday, May 28, in the Third Round of the 100th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Along with the other 15 Major League Soccer clubs participating in the tournament, the Goats will kick off the tournament at 7:30 p.m. (PT). The Blues punched their ticket to the meeting with their 5-1 rout over PDL side Ventura County Fusion last Tuesday, May 21, at Titan Stadium, in Fullerton, which will also serve as the setting for tomorrow's single-elimination battle.
Having played in countless friendlies throughout the years, Chivas USA and the Blues are very familiar opponents, as they are separated by less than 30 miles. The sides last met in February in a preseason scrimmage at The Home Depot Center's Field 4, in which the Goats polished off their neighbor with a 5-1 performance. Though the Blues will serve as the host side playing on their home field, the Rojiblancos have felt very much at home at Titan Stadium. It was in that same location that they defeated the Charlotte Eagles in a dramatic 2-1 victory to reach last year's Open Cup Semifinals for the second time in club history.
As the match entered stoppage time locked in a 1-1 tie, midfielder Laurent Courtois served a deep pass into the box from the right sideline, where forward JosÃ© Correa was able to knock in the game-winner by also putting the exclamation point on his two-goal performance. Should Chivas USA win on Tuesday, it will mark the third time in club history winning their opening match of the competition. With a handful of players returning from last year's squad that made the historic Semifinals run alongside Correa and Courtois, the Rojiblancos are determined to try and replicate last year's success.
"We're happy to be participating in another Open Cup," said midfielder Jorge VillafaÃÂ±a, who started in three matches in last year's Cup run. "We're preparing for tomorrow's match and taking the competition very seriously, because it merits it and we want to win the Cup. We reached the Semifinals last year and this year we want to win it."
For many on the squad, Tuesday's match will be their first taste of the Open Cup, including Head Coach JosÃ© Luis SÃÂ¡nchez SolÃÂ¡, who says that tomorrow's game gives the team an opportunity to break out of their current streak and create an ascending route.
"We're athletes and competitors and we like to win," said SÃÂ¡nchez SolÃÂ¡. "It's that commitment we have with ourselves, with our fans, with our families. It's in our make-up as competitors and athletes. So we are happy to have that opportunity tomorrow."
Last year's squad lost in the Semifinals to eventual runner-up Seattle Sounders FC. Similarly, Chivas USA lost to the Sounders in 2010 in the club's first-ever Semifinal appearance. Should the Red-and-White advance past the Blues, they would face the winner between the LA Galaxy and the Carolina RailHawks on Wednesday, June 12, at The Home Depot Center beginning at 7:30 p.m. (PT).
Year in Review: Chivas USA U15/16
In 28 games within U.S. Soccer's Development Academy, Chivas USA's U15/16 squad finished the 2012-2013 season with a record every other team in their category would have dreamed of: 20 wins, three losses and five draws, scoring a whopping 80 goals.
The record helped the young Goats reach the top spot of the Southwest Division, leading to the division championship and the USSDA playoffs.
"In the beginning of the season, we set out a number of team goals and team objectives that we wanted to accomplish. We knew we had the team to be able to achieve these objectives and goals. The first two goals that we wanted to accomplish was to win our conference and qualify for playoffs. Based on that, I'm very pleased with the season so far," said Chivas USA U15/16 Coach Mike MuÃÂ±oz.
In their last game of the season, the young Goats defeated the LA Galaxy 4-2, finishing the regular season with an outstanding twelve-game unbeaten streak. Aside from the group's talent on the field, the chemistry among the players has driven them to that success.
"It's a group that's very close, they've all played or known each other for a number of years, they're very competitive within our own circles and it's a group that knows how to win. There are days when we've been really good in our performances, and there are days when we've had to grind out 1-0 wins, maybe not playing our best but always finding ways to win. And that's the mark of a great team," the U16 coach added.
The USSDA playoffs for the U15/16 category kick-off on June 25 at FC Dallas Park. If they succeed in the playoffs, the group will move on to the USSDA Finals Week in July. After ending the season with a positive streak, Chivas USA's U15/16 squad is ready to go for the national championship.
"[The streak] gives our team confidence heading into playoffs; we don't even remember what it feels like to lose. The guys are hungry, they want to continue the streak, and they want to keep going. Secondly, I think it puts fear into our opponents because if you look at our last twelve games, they see win after win after win. No one wants to play us right now and that's something that we can use to our advantage," Coach Munoz finalized.
Purdy: "It's going to be a great tournament"
Chivas USA defender Steven Purdy returned to the Rojiblancos this weekend after spending a week prepping up with El Salvador's National Team in Venezuela . On Wednesday, May 22, Purdy played 90 minutes of a 2-1 loss to Venezuela, as El Salvador prepares for their participation in the CONCACAF Gold Cup this year.
"It was great, I had a lot of experiences with [the National Team] and this time was perhaps the longest break," expressed Purdy. "It was really really important for me to come back with them and play with my new teammates and get to know the new coach."
Despite the loss, Purdy emphasized that the game against Venezuela was specially good for the team's preparation. El Salvador will make their Gold Cup 2013 debut against Trinidad and Tobago on July 8 at 10:00 p.m. (PT) at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ.
"We played a good game", said the Red-and-White defender on their game against Venezuela. "We lost 2-1, but it was a positive game for our preparation for the Gold Cup. We were up 1-0 and they scored 2 goals in 2 penalty kicks in Venezuela. We were against a team that is getting ready for World Cup Qualifications.
El Salvador National Team will continue to train during the entire month of June, since all the players from the Salvadorian League have finished their duties there. Purdy, however, will keep on working with the Goats as he awaits his call to defend El Salvador's colors in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. The Chivas player has already been called-up 13 times, and on October 11, 2011 he scored his first goal and assist on a 4-0 victory over the Caiman Islands.
"It's going to be a great tournament and I hope to get called-up," concluded Purdy in his declarations. "I think I did very well in the past and I have a good history with El Salvador. I played specially well against Venezuela and the Head Coach told me I did well. I think this was like my test, so I want to believe that because of that everything is leading in the right way."
Rojiblancos prepare for Open Cup
Chivas USA completed a full team practice today in preparation for Tuesday's Third-Round match in the 100th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The Red-and-White will face the L.A. Blues at Titan Stadium on the campus of Cal State Fullerton starting at 7:30 p.m. (PT). The morning session began with a team jog around The Home Depot Center's Field 6.
The Goats then continued their warm-ups with a series of light stretches under the supervision of Strength and Conditioning Coach Osvaldo Scansetti. Afterwards, the squad ran through conditioning drills using short hurdle obstacles. The players first ran over the hurdles straight forward incorporating high knees and then sideways. The group also implemented balance and core strengthening exercises with balls and trampolines. The Goats then implemented ball work with half the group partnering up with a teammate for ten-yard passing drills.
While the bulk of the team continued to complete conditioning and balance drills, six attacking players ran through a build-up drill that began just inside the midfield line and under the instructions of Head Coach JosÃ© Luis SÃÂ¡nchez SolÃÂ¡. The drill emphasized ball distribution and finishing inside the box. Meanwhile, the goalkeepers worked with position coach Daniel GonzÃÂ¡lez individually in front of the goal.
Soon after, players who were part of the extensive agility and balance drills broke out into a five-on-three finishing drill inside the box on the far end of the pitch. Training then concluded with a team stretch and cool down ahead of Tuesday's opening match for the RebaÃÂ±o Angelino.
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