The end of the 2012 road is here for Chivas USA, as they face FC Dallas tomorrow in Frisco, Texas (4 p.m. PDT, Galavision). The game will almost certainly be anti-climactic for both sides, as they've both disappointed this season, and will not be going to the postseason. Besides that, Chivas are set to end the Robin Fraser era, if reports this week are to be believed (and signs point to yes on that), and with that will most likely come with a great deal more upheaval on the roster.
If last week Fraser played a whole load of old guys, in a game which seemed like a sendoff for several of them (and a wishful-thinking sendoff for a few more, at least on my end), this week appears to be shaping up to play the young and inexperienced. The enormous injury report this week, perhaps the largest of the season, means we will probably be seeing some new faces, some faces we haven't seen in awhile, and maybe a random guy or two from the stands, who knows? Maybe Fraser or Greg Vanney will throw on kits and head out there. It's all in play.
Oh yeah, Dallas will be missing a key player or two as well. So this should be interesting/awful to watch.
Let's preview the season finale!
Tale of the Tape:
Chivas USA: 29 points (7-18-8), 9th place in Western Conference, 18th place overall; Goal Difference: -34 (22/56); Last five matches: L-L-L-D-L
FC Dallas: 38 points (9-13-11), 6th place in Western Conference, 13th place overall; Goal Difference: -5 (40/45); Last five matches: D-W-D-D-L
Key Match-up: Meh
Look, I will definitely watch this game. I don't think there's much case to be made of what match-ups will matter. There's literally nothing to play for, beyond fulfilling contractual obligations. Chivas can't change their position in the standings in any way, their coach is out, a sizable number of players will probably be shown the door, a bunch of guys are hurt.
The optimist will say that this game represents an opportunity for those players who do feature to show Jose Luis Real and company that they are promising and worth keeping for next season. That could be true, of course. And ending the season with a win would be a nice way to end the season, especially considering Chivas haven't won since July. But while it is hard to predict who will feature for Chivas normally, the lineups for this game are even more unpredictable. And since FCD has experience with key players suffering unfortunate catastrophic injuries, I wouldn't be surprised if coach Schellas Hyndman also clears the bench and plays the youngsters. If that's the case, both teams will probably play nervous, erratic soccer.
Why Chivas will win this match: They played Dallas well in their last meeting. Brek Shea will be out, although he has been far from his best this season. There's not much motivation for Dallas, who finished just short of the playoffs. Chivas may want to send Fraser out on a good note. That's pretty much all I have at this point.
Why Dallas will win this match: They aren't about to lose their coach, so even if they play youngsters, they have legitimate motivation to impress Hyndman. They'll be at home, and they probably won't want a repeat performance of the last meeting, when they were totally outplayed by Chivas. If they do play a top lineup, they should roll over Chivas, as Dan Kennedy will be missing again this game, as he had arthroscopic surgery on his knee and is out.
Why this game will end in a draw: It certainly could happen, especially if there isn't enough coherence from either side. And since there's nothing to play for, the teams could be somewhat cautious in tactics and play. We'll see.
Chivas: John Valencia (suspended - yellow cards), Dan Kennedy (knee), Juan Pablo Angel (ankle - listed as doubtful), Ante Jazic (knee - listed as questionable), James Riley (illness - listed as questionable), Nick LaBrocca (hamstring - listed as questionable), Casey Townsend (knee - listed as probable)
Dallas: Ugo Ihemelu (concussion), Chris Seitz (illness), Brek Shea (abdomen), George John (ankle - listed as questionable)