After an unsuccessful midweek road trip, Chivas USA are back at home and hosting FC Dallas today (4 p.m., Galavision). Chivas are reeling, and trying to find a good game in the final month of the season. This would be a particularly good time to have a good game, since it will be two weekends before their next match. For Dallas, their season has been reinvigorated since the teams first met back in June, and they are eager to keep pace with the Vancouver Whitecaps for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Can the Goats show anything new in this match, or will it be more of the same that we've had to watch the past couple of months? Let's preview this match.
Tale of the Tape:
Chivas USA: 28 points (7-17-7), 9th place in Western Conference, 18th place overall; Goal Difference: -32 (21/53); Last five matches: L-L-L-L-L
FC Dallas: 37 points (9-12-10), 6th place in Western Conference, 13th place overall; Goal Difference: -3 (38/41); Last five matches: W-L-D-W-D
Key Match-up: Chivas offense vs. Dallas attack
Let's change things up here. As I wrote yesterday, Chivas need to score just one more goal this season to avoid tying the 2010 D.C. United team for fewest goals scored in a season with 21. That, coupled with a 532 minute scoreless streak, means for once the defensive woes (and there have been many lately) need to go on the back burner and this team needs to pay attention to their attack. Remember those days when Chivas scored two whole goals against the Seattle Sounders and three against the New England Revolution? Yeah, sure, those teams scored a combined nine goals to Chivas' five, but that feeling of multiple goals in a single game was pretty sweet. Or to most other teams, just a regular game.
Why doesn't Robin Fraser pick the attacking players who have the best chance of scoring today? I'm thinking Miller Bolaños, Tristan Bowen, Jose Correa, Juan Pablo Angel - these players have been the most dangerous on the roster this season. I realize that it is all relative, but instead of starting guys who don't look at all dangerous, let's make the offense a priority. The defense may still be terrible, but if they get a goal, they could avoid making history at the end of the season and perhaps even have a chance at a result. If the defense is competent, that is.
Why Chivas will win this match: I'll keep this brief: it is MLS. Every team is capable of beating every other team. Chivas are terrible, no doubt about it, but it could happen. I can't really predict reasons why or how it would happen, but it is possible. Likely? No. But possible? Yes.
Why FCD will win this match: See above. Chivas are so demoralized that Dallas have a huge advantage just by stepping onto the field. Also, they have something to play for, as a win would bring them within two points of Vancouver, and Dallas has had the full week of rest, as opposed to Chivas having a midweek match. They can also refer to the gametape of Chivas' last match, as a sputtering Vancouver ripped the Goats apart. If it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, am I right?
Why this match will end in a draw: I doubt this is likely. Chivas' defense has been so bad that Dallas has to be considered a lock to score, and Chivas' scoreless streak makes banking on both sides' scoring unlikely. Also, Dallas is desperate for three points, and Chivas' fire seems to have been snuffed out weeks ago. Is a draw in the cards? As ever, it is possible, but doesn't seem very likely.
Chivas: Ryan Smith (concussion), Tim Melia (back), Casey Townsend (calf - listed as questionable)
Dallas: Ugo Ihemelu (concussion), Jackson Goncalves (quad - listed as questionable), Brek Shea (abdominal - listed as questionable)