Chivas USA will look to put a winning streak together on Wednesday, as they take on the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium (7:30 pm PT, TWC Deportes). The Goats won their third game of the season last Saturday, and will hope they can finally turn their flagging fortunes around, while the Quakes lost to the LA Galaxy last weekend at Stanford Stadium. Despite that, San Jose beat Chivas the last time out, so they probably feel pretty good about their prospects in this game. Who will get the result? We'll find out very soon.
On to the preview:
Tale of the Tape:
Chivas USA: 14 points (3-7-5), 9th in Western Conference, 18th place overall; Goal Difference: -11 (15/26); Last five matches: W-D-L-L-D
San Jose Earthquakes: 16 points (4-6-4), 8th in Western Conference, 16th place overall; Goal Difference: 0 (15/15): Last five matches: L-L-W-W-L
Can Chivas break streak against Earthquakes? It's been nearly three years exactly since Chivas last beat San Jose. Their last win came in July 2011, eight games ago. In the interim, San Jose have firmly controlled matters against the fellow California side, as CUSA could only muster a couple of draws in that span.
Here's another chance for Chivas USA to end a negative streak. And they'll be doing it against a San Jose side that is deceiving as far as their quality is concerned. A team that relies on the sum of its parts more than individual brilliance, they nonetheless needed a good performance from tricky Portuguese winger Yannick Djalo in their last win over the Goats, and assuming he's healthy and in the lineup, he will probably be the key man once again, especially with Chris Wondolowski still in Brazil and Shea Salinas possibly sidelined. There is also the one-two punch of Alan Gordon and Steven Lenhart, who have been quiet this year but can pop up and start scoring at any time. Chivas' defense will be up against a very different test in this game than the one they saw in the RSL win, and if they can keep all 11 men on the field and keep their composure again, they may be able to help the Goats snap another bad run. But they'll have to score too...and goals have not been easy to find on this team.
Why Chivas will win this match: They have some momentum from the RSL win, and I'm guessing there will be some lineup rotation for Chivas. Given the fact that Chivas' defensive depth has been used frequently this season, and that the drop-off from the starters isn't precipitous, getting some fresh legs in could really be good for them. In contrast, while San Jose have also had to use the full extent of their bench this season due to injuries and international absences, it seems pretty clear that there is more of a distinction in general between the first choice squad and the rest of the roster. So if both coaches make many changes, it could benefit Chivas, although the Quakes don't play again for nine days, so they may use that first choice lineup. In addition, Erick Torres is on a scoring streak in league play once again, and if he's able to score, that should keep Chivas in the game. Again, it will be nice to have other players score, too, and if Cubo can get some help, that should bode well for their prospects.
Why San Jose will win this match: There's the aforementioned unbeaten streak against CUSA, and they're playing at home on short rest. They are also one of the teams best suited to grinding out tough midweek results in the league, and I wouldn't be surprised if this is a narrow 1-0 with several close calls by Chivas, but with the Quakes ultimately pulling out all three points. And since they don't have another game coming up on the weekend, they won't have to worry about keeping players fresh for another game in a few days, so they will probably figure this should be an easy three points. It will be up to Chivas to upend that expectation, and it will be interesting to see if they can actually do that.
Why this game will end in a draw: Midweek games seem to end in ties more often, and while Chivas desperately need wins to actually show measurable improvement this year, a draw on the road in the second game played in four days wouldn't be an awful result for them. And with rosters showing considerable movement, players dealing with injuries, and a possible lack of focus during what should be a very busy month, a draw could very well be in the cards. Add in the always high possibility of red cards in this fixture, and a stalemate could be the result.
Chivas: Thomas McNamara (knee), Andrew Jean-Baptiste (sports hernia)
San Jose: Shea Salinas (abdominal - listed as questionable), Atiba Harris (hamstring - listed as questionable), Clarence Goodson (groin - listed as questionable), Chris Wondolowski (international)