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Preview: Chivas USA at Vancouver Whitecaps, September 1, 2013

Chivas USA look to extending their winning streak (currently standing at one game) headed out to BC Place to face the Vancouver Whitecaps. Only three years into their MLS existence but the narrative about this Whitecaps team, at least under the stewardship of Martin Rennie, is one of team that falters late in the season. Let's just put it like this: a year without a Whitecaps late summer collapse is like a Neil Diamond concert without "Sweet Caroline". Oh come on! It's not that dated a reference!

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The Caps are indeed faltering, drawing a mere four points in their last six contests, three of which saw the Whitecap's potent offense shutout.

Vancouver had the better of Chivas last year taking seven out of a nine possible points. Chivas USA beat Vancouver in March here in Carson, and could win the season series against the Canadians in today's game.

So without any furter ado, let's get this preview started!

Tale of the Tape:

Chivas USA: 21 points (5-14-6), 9th place in Western Conference, 18th place overall; Goal Difference: -21 (24/45); Last five matches: W-L-L-T-W

The Vancouver Whitecaps: 36 points (10-9-6), 7th place in Western Conference, 12th place overall; Goal Difference: 3 (36/33); Last five matches: L-L-D-W-L-L

Key Match-up: Chivas's attackers versus the Whitecaps backline:
Chivas coach Jose Luis Real brought back a lot of old faces in last weeks game (Oswaldo Minda, welcome back! Bobby Burling, hey have you lost weight? etc). But we can be realatively sure that Erick Torres, Eric Avila and Bryan de la Fuente will be pushing forward to take advantage of the a Whitecaps team missing not only Nigel Reo-Coker but most likely Jay DeMerit as well.

What chances these three Superfriends can create, and capitalize on, will determine if Chivas USA leaves Canadian soil with three points.

Why Chivas USA will win this match:
Chivas will win if they can score an early goal and then manage to play the full 90 minutes plus extra time. Chivas USA concedes late goals (75th minute or later) like a sieve.

It's going to take some some link up play between the wings and striker Erick Torres to keep the ball on the Whitecaps side of the field. All the while creating and capitilizing on those chances. The power running of the Eric Avila, Torres and Bryan De la Fuenta com

Why the Whitecaps will win this match:
The Vancover Whitecaps will win if they can keep the Chivas USA defense on the backfoot and play dangerous balls into the penalty area. Naturally, past performance is not necessarily a predictor of future performance but 2/3's of the Whitecaps goals are in the run of play and nearly 75% of their goals were scored in the penalty area. In other words, it's the youth and athleticism of Darren Mattocks and Camillo that's bring home the Whitecaps bacon.

How Real dispatches his central defenders to deal with these threats is pivotal to how the match will play out. The return of Jay DeMerit, perhaps a 60+th minute substitute motivates the team. Hey, I was born way after 1970 and I still always hear about Willis Reed. Just saying..

Why the match will end in a draw: Honestly, it's got all the trappings of a 0-0 tie. Vancouver will possess the ball but Chivas defense will squelch any scoring chances. This has all the trappings of a trap game for the Whitecaps with matches against direct playoff contenders (FC Dallas and the San Jose Earthquakes) on the horizon.

Notable absences:

Chivas: Daniel Antunez (knee)

Vancouver : Nigel Reo-Coker (yellow card accumulation)