Between international absences, injuries and suspensions, it's a gutted Seattle squad that hosts the Goats. And, seemingly like every opponent Chivas USA seems to have faced recently, this has the opportunity to be a great "trap" game for the Sounders.
If you missed it, be sure to check out the Three Questions exchange with Dave Clark of Sounder at Heart.
Now then, let's preview this match!
Tale of the Tape:
Chivas USA: 22 points (5-14-7), 9th place in Western Conference, 17th place overall; Goal Difference: -21 (26/47); Last six matches: L-L-D-L-W-D
Seattle Sounders: 40 points (12-8-4), 3rd place in Western Conference, 6th place overall; Goal Difference: +6 (32/26); Last six matches: W-W-W-L-W-W
Key Match-up: Chivas USA's Edgar Mejia and/or Oswaldo Minda vs. Osvaldo Alonso
This has all the trappings of trench warfare between the boxes. Neither side is a possession heavy squad, which means both teams are relying on a defensive midfielder who can break up the attack and quickly start a counterattack. The team that's best able to quickly create opportunities for themselves against the run of play will be the victor.
Why Chivas USA will win this match:
Sunday's game against the Vancouver Whitecaps could be a very pivotal game for Chivas USA. It was first match this season that the Goats were able to put up multiple goals away from Carson. It's a short rest but a relatively short distance between Vancouver and Seattle. The team is young and full of confidence right now.
Seattle may have gotten the win on Saturday against the Columbus Crew, but if they defend as poorly against Chivas USA Erick Torres and Julio Morales will make them pay. The Seattle defense allowed Columbus to string together 73.6% of the Crew's passes on the Seattle side of the field. The Crew's downfall was that just two of their 24 shots-24 shots!-were on frame.
Why Seattle will win this match:
While Seattle's biggest names might not be on the pitch-possibly none of the team's four Designated Players (I'm counting Shalrie Joseph as he was a DP at season's beginning) will be available-this Sounders team still has enough to give a team like Chivas USA fits. It's not as if Sigi Schmid's cupboard is completely bare: Mauro Rosales, Oswaldo Alonso, Lamar Nagle, and DeAndre Yedlin are all very capable.
Schmid is a good coach and he'll undoubtedly have the Sounders prepared to pounce when the Chivas defense begins to tire in the second half.
Why this match will end in a draw:
Stop me if you've heard this one before: Chivas scores an early goal only to give up an equalizer in the final ten minutes.
Seattle: Clint Dempsey, Eddie Johnson, Brad Evans, Shalrie Joseph (international call-ups), Steve Zakuani (athletic pubalgia), Leo Gonzalez (suspended). Questionable: Alex Caskey (right ankle), Obafemi Martins (left ankle sprain), Djimi Traore (left ankle sprain)
What do you think? Leave your comments below!