Chivas USA look to revive their flagging fortunes on (American) Mother's Day as they face the Colorado Rapids in Commerce, Colorado on Sunday (12 pm PT, UniMas). Chivas will have more rest than their hosts, who played a game midweek against the San Jose Earthquakes, a scoreless draw, but the Rapids have been on much better form of late than the Goats. Also, weather could play a big impact on that game...have Chivas ever played in the snow? They might in this one.
If you missed it, be sure to check out the Three Questions feature on this game from earlier today.
Let's preview this game!
Tale of the Tape:
Chivas USA: 6 points (1-5-3), 9th in Western Conference, 18th place overall; Goal Difference: -9 (9/18); Last five matches: L-L-L-D-L
Colorado Rapids: 15 points (4-2-3), 4th in Western Conference, 4th place overall; Goal Difference: 1 (10/9); Last five matches: D-W-L-D-W
Weather time: Ok, I'm off the defense for this week because they continue to appear to be not good. Until something changes, there's probably no need to belabor the point, though it is worth noting that Tony Lochhead will likely be back in the lineup at left back after an extended absence due to injury.
The big factor in this game, besides the players themselves and the strategies implemented and whatnot, is that there could be snow for the game. Snow! Obviously, most Southern Californians aren't that familiar with snow to begin with, but as someone who grew up in a winter climate, snow in May is remarkable (and remarkably depressing).
According to Rapids beat writer Chris Bianchi, there's a forecast of 4-9 inches of snow on Sunday evening. Since the game is at 1 pm local time, that may mean that there won't be any snow, or it won't really hit until later in the day, but there's still a solid chance we'll see snowfall, and if the storm comes in earlier, it could be major. Could Chivas have their own SnowClasico?
Only if they actually play well enough to get a result. And while we won't know how this team will respond to frigid temperatures and snowfall until they're actually playing, the lack of experience for many (most?) of these players could throw them off what focus they might have. In other words, unlike other situations with weather and soccer, this could be truly important. Of course, this isn't making an excuse in advance. If the game goes ahead, then the Goats have to show up and try for a result either way. Nobody's going to put an asterisk on this if the weather isn't perfect.
Why Chivas will win this game: It's MLS, anybody can win any game, etc. It's barely May and we're already at this point, which isn't a great sign. That said, Wilmer Cabrera knows the ins and outs of this Rapids team better than any other MLS side, and it's possible he could use his knowledge of the opponent to come up with a truly effective game plan. Beyond that, I can't say there's a great deal of optimism for a win here. The Rapids have owned Chivas of late, it will be at altitude and in unusual weather, their team is nearly fully healthy and Chivas isn't, and so on. But, it's true, you never know, and Chivas certainly aren't at an abject position just yet.
Why Colorado will win this game: They haven't lost to Chivas since the first game of 2009. As I always point out, streaks are meant to be broken, but as we've seen with most streaks concerning the Goats, they haven't been breaking in their favor. Given form, not to mention the setting and weather factors, the Rapids are firm favorites to win here, and considering Chivas' penchant for helping struggling teams notch wins the last two weeks, the fact that Colorado have had trouble scoring could be resolved by going against a weak Chivas defense. It worked for Houston last week in a big way, and again, until Chivas proves they can stop the slide, it looks likely to happen again this week.
Why this game will end in a draw: These teams have had a plethora of PKs this season, and penalties can always even the playing field. If Chivas can keep 11 players on the field for the entire match, or if the Rapids pick up a red of their own, it could also balance matters out. I don't think a draw is all that likely, but these teams have drawn at times in recent years. Although Chivas really need a win, a draw would certainly help at least a little in calming the rising panic. The question is if they can actually put it together and get a result.
Chivas: Tim Melia (suspended), Thomas McNamara (knee), Andrew Jean-Baptiste (sports hernia), Mauro Rosales (adductor), Matt Dunn (concussion), Lyle Martin (hamstring), Dan Kennedy (knee - listed as questionable)
Rapids: Vicente Sanchez (knee), Brian Mullan (knee)