Though they lost on Wednesday against RSL, Chivas USA did make a contest of it. Two players we hadn't seen much of lately—Julio Morales and Carlo Chueca—came off the bench against Real Salt Lake and scored and assisted, respectively, on Chivas USA's goal in the 77th minute. I wonder if their performances will influence coach Jose Luis Real's squad selection against the Portland Timbers.
Portland's Caleb Porter is likes to attack, run a high offside trap and push the tempo. Real is the opposite. Real is a very risk-averse coach often choosing to replace offensive players with defensive stoppers. Or so we thought: on Wednesday's game he replaced three midfielders (Carlos Alvarez, Oswaldo Minda, and Bryan de la Fuente) with an attacking midfielder and two strikers (Chueca, Fondy, and Morales).
What I'll be looking for today is to see if Real's strategy on Wednesday was an anomaly or a bit of a sea change.
Chivas USA: Melia, Borja, Bocanegra (C), de Luna, Frias, Mejia, Minda, Avila, Alvarez, de la Fuente, Torres
Portland Timbers: Ricketts, Jewsbury, Kah, Danso, Harrington, Chara, Johnson (C), Alhassan, Valeri, Nagbe, Valencia
*projections based on teams' last games
Out: CHV: Tristan Bowen, Marco Delgado, Gabriel Farfan, Steven Purdy. POR: Ryan Miller, Mikaël Silvestre, Brent Richards, David Horst.
Questionable: CHV: Dan Kennedy, Oswaldo Minda. POR: Maximiliano Urruti, Diego Valeri