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Preview: Chivas USA vs San Jose Earthquakes September 29, 2013

What you need to know before the match!

USA TODAY Sports

Chivas USA gets another chance to play spoiler as the Goats welcome the San Jose Earthquakes to the StubHub Center for an 8 pm fixture. Last year’s Supporter’s Shield winner have been woeful on the road but need to bag all three points if they expect to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Tale of the tape:

Chivas USA: 26 points (6-16-8), 9th in Western Conference (17th overall). Goal differential -25 (29/54). Last six: D-L-W-D-L

San Jose: 41 points (11-11-8), 7th in Western Conference (12th overall). Goal differential -10 (31/41). Last six: D-L-W-D-W-W

Key Match Up: Chivas USA’s backline versus Wondo and the Bash Brothers

Not to belabor the obvious but San Jose boasts an aggressive, physical and opportunistic trio in Alan Gordon, Steven Lenhart, and Chris Wondolowski. Meanwhile, the Chivas defense has been hobbled by injuries (Carlos Bocanegra foot issues, Bobby Burling had to leave the Houston match with back spasms) and suspensions. Chivas needs to tread carefully. San Jose have a gift in getting under opponents skin. While Carlos Borja returns from suspension, Mario de Luna, Oswaldo Minda, and Carlos Alvarez are one yellow card away from suspension.

Why Chivas will win: In the NBA playoffs, teams that get blown out in Game #1 tend to come back, often winning game #2. For one thing: adjustments get made. Likewise, Chivas return home following a throttling at the hands of the Houston Dynamo. Losses by such a margin can be instructional to a coaching staff, particularly for one as tactically astute as Jose Luis Real.

Why San Jose will win: The Earthquakes postseason hopes flicker, but barely. Simply put a win, especially over a last place team, is essential.

Why this match will end in a draw: Two direct, counterattacking teams nullify each other. Chances are created but ultimately snuffed out by each side’s upper-tier defenders: Clarence Goodson and Bocanegra, respectively. Meanwhile, Dan Kennedy continues his brilliance in the net.

Notable Absences:

Chivas: Daniel Antunez (knee), Marky Delgado (knee), Tristan Bowen (hip), Caleb Calvert (foot), Carlos Bocanegra (foot - listed as questionable), Bobby Burling (back - listed as questionable), Dan Kennedy (abdominal - listed as questionable)

San Jose: None

What do you think? Leave your thoughts, comments and predictions below!