So here we are.
Chivas USA will play their final game, in 2014 for certain, and possibly ever as a club, on Sunday against the San Jose Earthquakes at "home" (1:30 pm PT, KDOC/Tickets certainly available). With two teams out of the playoffs at the bottom of the standings, there certainly isn't a great deal on the line, and it may not be the most beautiful game of soccer ever played. But given the occasion, this is a pretty momentous day in CUSA lore. It may be ending, far sooner than any of us ever expected, but it's one last go. Let's see a win -- come on you Goats!
On to the preview...
Tale of the Tape:
Chivas USA: 30 points (8-19-6), 8th in Western Conference, 17th place overall; Goal Difference: -33 (28/61); Last five matches: L-W-W-L-L
San Jose Earthquakes: 30 points (6-15-12), 9th in Western Conference, 18th place overall; Goal Difference: -14 (35/49); Last five matches: D-L-L-L-D
Please, please go out on a win, Chivas USA: It's an obvious statement, but you want to see Chivas USA win every game. Sometimes, the desire is perhaps a bit stronger, like during rivalry games. This game, however, is on an entirely different level.
Will my attitude be substantially different if Chivas wins or loses this game? In the long-term, no. But in the short-term, a victory could at least provide something of a salve on the pain of likely losing one's team, a buzz for a little while to look fondly on the team in a moment of time.
So the job is simple, Goats: get a win. Do whatever you need to do to get it. Score early and often. Score just once more than the Quakes. Hold onto the ball, or run the counter. Draw PKs, get opponents sent off, whatever, it doesn't matter. But just win, for God's sake, win.
Why Chivas will win this match: They lost their last game, but they've been on better form overall than the Quakes. And while San Jose have an interim coach, they have nothing to play for this season, and instead of staying in full-on lame duck franchise mode, CUSA have snapped out of it this month. This is a pretty evenly matched game, overall, and given the sentiment on both sides, plus the fact that the Goats' last two wins came at "home," means this is more than a winnable game. I'm saying it's a must-win, but at the very least, it's a "should-win" game. And they're actually favored, so as long as their defense is stout and their attack can actually get on the same page enough to grab a goal or two, they absolutely can win this.
Why San Jose will win this match: Chivas may be playing better, but that doesn't mean they're miles ahead of San Jose. And while CUSA may have the sentiment of wanting to end the team's history on a positive note, they don't have to impress the coach for next season, since it looks like everybody will be scattered after this game. In contrast, the Quakes may be getting a new coach, but he's Dominic Kinnear, and he's well-respected, someone that current players will be eager to impress before he even joins the staff. Both teams can trip over their own feet, metaphorically speaking, and if the Goats do the tripping, then San Jose can sneak in and grab a result, easily. They may have flaws, but they have considerable talent, too. That's especially true if Chris Wondolowski, Matias Perez Garcia, and Yannick Djalo (who scored in the teams' first meeting this year) play in this game. Only an exceedingly stupid team would take this game lightly, since it's really pretty much a toss-up.
Why this game will end in a draw: Ugh. If it was a tie and not a loss, that's better, I suppose. But a draw would be so disappointing. It's all about context, but I sincerely hope CUSA is in position to win and not just tie their way to the end of the season, and beyond.
Chivas: Carlos Bocanegra (concussion), Thomas McNamara (knee), Martin Rivero (knee), Marky Delgado (knee), Luis Bolanos (ankle)
San Jose: Steven Lenhart (foot), Clarence Goodson (foot), Brandon Barklage (hip - listed as questionable)