MLS-Affiliated Club Makes Inaugural Appearance at Finals Week
Chivas USA secured its spot to Finals Week with a down-to-the-wire run through the Development Academy Playoffs. The MLS-affiliated club overcame a 1-0 deficit in its final Playoff game to salvage a draw and enough points to make it through to its first appearance at the Development Academy Finals Week in Houston.
How they got to Finals Week: Chivas USA certainly kept its supporters on edge during the Development Academy Playoffs, winning two games by a one-goal margin and pulling out a last-match draw for the needed points to progress through as group winners. Chivas USA needed a 90th-minute winner to beat Charlotte Soccer Academy in match one of Playoffs and also survived a late scare in a 4-3 win against the New England Revolution before scoring an all-important game-tying goal against the New York Red Bulls to secure a trip to Houston.
Finals Week and Academy Playoffs History: This marks the first year that Chivas USA has advanced to Finals Week. Chivas has qualified for the Development Academy Playoffs in three of the past four seasons, including back-to-back appearances in 2010-11 and 2011-12.
2011-12 Regular Season: Chivas USA finished the regular season as the second-place finisher in the competitive SoCal Division with an 11-2-3 mark, just one point behind the division-winning LA Galaxy. A 15-game unbeaten run in the first half of the season helped propel the Goats into a playoff position.
About head coach Dan Calichman: Calichman was a central defender and captain of Major League Soccer’s LA Galaxy from 1996-98, and he also played for MLS’s San Jose Earthquakes (2000) and the New England Revolution (1999-00). The New York native played for the U.S. Men’s National Team in 1997 and was the first American to play in the J-League, Japan’s professional soccer league (1990-93). Along with serving as head coach of the Chivas USA U-17/18 Academy team, Calichman is the head coach of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps’ men’s soccer team.
About Chivas USA: Founded in 2004, Chivas USA began play in MLS at the start of the 2005 season and several current and former U.S. Men’s National Team players have donned the red-and-white striped jersey including Heath Pearce, Sacha Kljestan, Brad Guzan and Jonathan Bornstein. Earlier this year, Chivas USA signed Academy product Marco Delgado, a former U.S. U-17 Residency Academy member in 2010-11. Delgado was on the field for Chivas USA’s U-17/18 team during the Academy Playoffs.
Scoring Leader in Academy Playoffs: Ben Spencer (3)
Scoring Leader During 2011-12 Regular Season: Mark Verso (19)
Inside the Numbers: Chivas USA has three players that have scored 10 or more goals from the regular season through Academy Playoffs: Verso (20), Spencer (12) and Jose Dheming (10) … Chivas USA is unbeaten in six straight games dating back to May 13.
Did you know … Spencer, Delgado, Dheming and Eric Gonzales have all seen playing time for the Chivas USA Reserve side in MLS Reserve League action during the 2012 season … Spencer scored 22 goals for Real Salt Lake AZ's U-15/16 squad, helping it reach Finals Week in Milwaukee in 2011 before joining the Chivas USA Academy.
U-17/18 Chivas USA 2011-12 Finals Week Schedule:
Home team listed first
Monday, July 16: FC Dallas vs. Chivas USA, 9 p.m. CT
Wednesday, July 18: Chivas USA vs. Solar Chelsea SC, 8 p.m. CT
Friday, July 20: Chivas USA vs. Baltimore Bays Chelsea, 9 p.m. CT
Sunday, July 22: TBD