MLS West Notes: Pearce eyes recovery, Portland looks for road win and moreSeptember 8, 2011 • By Adam S.
BY ADAM SERRANO
Chivas USA are looking to qualify for the playoffs, but they'll have to be without their star defender Heath Pearce for at least a month.
Pearce pulled his left hamstring in the club's August 27th defeat to Real Salt Lake while running in the open field. Although Pearce has experienced some trouble with hamstring injuries in the past, the Chivas USA back-line leader is confident that he'll be able to recover quickly and return to action for the Rojiblancos.
“The MRI said four to six [weeks out], but I think it’s going to be on the short side of that,” said a confident Pearce, who is hoping to return to action on Sept. 24 against Toronto FC. “I feel like this is a minor injury and it will be on the short side of the window, if not shorter. … I feel that the news of the level of the strain and the pull that it was, was the best of bad news, the best-case scenario so that’s a positive.”
The Colorado Rapids are prepping for their match against the LA Galaxy and will be dealing a great deal of fixture congestion. With two matches each week for the next two weeks due to CONCACAF Champions League play, the Rapids believe that they have a great deal to learn from the Galaxy, who are going through the same trials.
“You have seen guys more than good enough to slot in,” Smith said this week. “Bruce has rotated the squad incredibly well there to keep getting results.”
The FC Dallas community has spent the week mourning the untimely loss of club legend Bobby Rhine of an apparent heart attack. The former FC Dallas attacker died at the age of 35 scoring 23 goals in 213 appearances for FCD. After his career, Rhine moved in TV booth and became the club's play-by-play man and now as the club looks to move on from his tragic passing, head coach Schellas Hyndman says that he'd like to dedicate a championship to Rhine's memory.
“[Team president] Doug Quinn and [owner] Dan Hunt both came out to practice at the end and addressed the team and received permission … from the league to wear black armbands – which we will – and to dedicate the rest of the season and hopefully championship to the memory of Bobby Rhine.”
LOS ANGELES GALAXY
The Los Angeles Galaxy control their own destiny as they look ahead to the MLS playoffs and potentially earning the Supporters Shield for the second straight year.
Although the year has gone well for the club with the league's best record, the Galaxy admit that they are looking behind them at the Seattle Sounders, who currently sit four points behind them in the chase for the top record. With seven matches left in the season, the Galaxy can clinch a playoff spot with a victory on Friday against the Colorado Rapids as well as some help.
“Without sounding like an idiot, I do think we've probably secured a playoff spot," said head coach Bruce Arena. "It might be the 10th spot at this point, but I think that is not an issue with us.”
The Portland Timbers have exceeded the expectations of many and currently sit in the thick of the playoff race.
Five of the last eight games for the Timbers are on the road starting with a match on Saturday at PPL Park against the Philadelphia Union. Portland have had a dismal record on the road this season, having won only one match away from JELD-WEN Field. The task at hand for Portland is clear, to make the playoffs, then they'll need to win on the road.
"The truth of the matter is for us to make the playoffs, we're going to have to get some (good) results on the road," Portland midfielder Jack Jewsbury said.
REAL SALT LAKE
It has been a long wait, but Cody Arnoux finally got to make an impact on an MLS field.
After being a star for Wake Forest and spending time with the Everton reserves, Arnoux seemed destined to make a huge role for RSL, but a knee injury sidelined the attacker for seven months. It was not always an easy road, but Arnoux finally got on the field going 24 minutes against Philadelphia this weekend.
“Obviously, it felt great,” Arnoux told reporters after their match. “When you are out of competitive matches for ten months and finally get a chance to get in there it always feels good. It’s been a long time, so I almost forget how it feels to be out there playing.”
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The playoffs appear to be slipping away from the San Jose Earthquakes, but the club is developing ahead of the 2012 season.
One player who appears to be rounding into form is left back Justin Morrow. The Notre Dame product, who was selected in the second round of the 2010 MLS SuperDraft has performed well in the last two matches for the Quakes against the LA Galaxy and Toronto FC. Although the season is not going well, head coach Frank Yallop admits that he is pleased with Morrow's performance.
“He’s not made mistakes, he’s got himself forward,” Yallop told reporters. “I think with Justin being a young player, I wouldn’t say it’s nerves, it was more maybe feeling he didn’t belong last year when he played a little bit. Now, I think he really feels he belongs, and he’s played really well. I’m very happy with Justin right now.”
The Seattle Sounders have ambitious plans for the last few months of the season.
The Sounders will be aiming to advance from CONCACAF Champions League group stage, win the U.S. Open Cup for the third consecutive time and most of all, win the MLS Cup. Seattle admit that that they are gunning for homefield advantage during the playoffs as they prepare for the final two months of the season. Seattle sit just four points behind the LA Galaxy and believe that the top spot in MLS is in their grasp.
The Vancouver Whitecaps have yet to earn a victory away from Empire Field this season, going a dismal 0-10-4. With that poor record, the Whitecaps are starting to study why the team has suffered so much away from Vancouver.
Part of the reason is believed to be the distance that the Caps have traveled this season (26,221 miles), but the Whitecaps believe that as the team acclimates with the league, the results on the road will come.
"One thing won't change as long as we're in Vancouver, and that's travel," Soehn told the Province. "We'll continue to change things until we get results, and we'll see what we can come up with to make sure we can give our guys every chance."