Carson, CA – Vancouver Whitecaps FC has mixed emotions regarding The Home Depot Center.
The 'Caps earned their first-ever road win in Major League Soccer earlier this season by defeating Chivas USA 1-0 on March 17, but they returned to the venue on June 23 and were comfortably dispatched by the Los Angeles Galaxy in a 3-0 win for the reigning MLS Cup champions.
But after claiming a 1-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids on Independence Day, Vancouver will be looking to banish any lingering horrors left in Carson, California when the Canadian club returns to The Home Depot Center to face Chivas USA on Saturday.
Wednesday's defeat of Colorado was Vancouver's third road win of the season, improving to a 3-3-2 record away from BC Place this term.
It was a fine performance as the 'Caps overcame a sold-out 4th of July crowd, the always-difficult altitude of the Rockies and the fierce mid-summer heat to improve to 29 points on the season.
"We knew we needed a response from [the 3-0 loss to the Galaxy last match]," goalkeeper Joe Cannon told Vancouver radio station TEAM 1410 following the match. "It showed. It was gutsy tonight. We were fortunate, but we had a game plan coming in. With these conditions, it was really difficult to play and get on the front foot and get after these guys."
Darren Mattocks scored the lone goal of the affair, punching home a failed Colorado clearance on what was Vancouver's only shot on goal of the night.
"He took it really well," head coach Martin Rennie said of the goal. "He only really had that chance, and he finished it really well. At other times, we had a couple other chances, half chances, if we'd been a little bit cleaner, we might have at least troubled [Colorado goalkeeper] Matt Pickens a little bit more."
Vancouver will certainly be looking to test Dan Kennedy a bit more - the Chivas goalkeeper has conceded just one goal in the club's two most recent matches.
Kennedy's superb play has helped the Goats to a 2-1-4 record over their last seven league games, a stretch that included valuable points against the San Jose Earthquakes, L.A. Galaxy, Red Bull New York and Seattle Sounders FC.
At the other end of the pitch, Chivas could be without one of its budding attacking pieces for Saturday's clash as Juan Agudelo is listed as questionable for the match. The 19-year-old has experienced swelling in his left knee, something he has dealt with since undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in the offseason.
"I'm getting better day by day, the swelling is going down day by day and it's getting better, which is a good sign," Agudelo told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday. "It's getting closer to make a decision whether to push or be smart about it. I'm new to this because it was the first surgery that I ever had and I'm aware there were some effects after."