Preview: Real Salt Lake at Chivas USA
Chivas holds the edge at 7-4-4
8:30 p.m. MT, KUSG (over the air 2.2/Comcast 111, Dish Channel 12), Direct Kick
What's At Stake?
A win on Saturday could push Salt Lake into sole possession of second position in the Western Conference, while a loss for the Goats could see them slip even farther into last place. After two straight shutout losses against Columbus and Houston, the Red-and-White must get a win if they are going to avoid dropping even farther out of playoff range.
There's also the added rivalry here of the two sides coming into the league in the same year: neither side wants to lose to the "other" expansion club of 2005.
Salt Lake gave Chivas a pounding on august 26 last year, dominating the Red-and-White for a 4-0 victory. Pablos Campos and Fabían Espíndola opened the scoring in the 43rd and 75th minutes, before Robbie Findley netted twice in the final five minutes of play to secure the big win.
Chivas USA was on a tear at the end of the 2008 season, dropping only four points in the team's last six regular season matches of the year. The Goats finally looked ready to make a run past the first round of the playoffs, until they came face to face with a plucky Salt Lake side. The boys from Utah took a tight 1-0 victory in Salt Lake before earning a 2-2 draw in Los Angeles to drop Chivas out of the postseason. Remember that? The Goats do.
Heroes & Villains
Blair Gavin and Ben Zemanski vs. Kyle Beckerman - Chivas USA's pair of rookie midfielders has been terrorizing opposing offenses with swarming defense in recent weeks, but Beckerman is a tested leader with the mettle to put up with the two University of Akron alums. This battle is an important one; the victor will control the pace of the game through the midfield and be able to feek good passes forward to the attack.
Stat that makes you go "Hmm..."
Chivas USA has only scored five goals in a single game once in the club's history. That one time? Against Real Salt Lake on July 9th of 2005.
He Said It:
"We have a tough challenge ahead of us-we need to make sure we take advantage of playing at home. It's no surprise that they won the MLS Cup last year, and they have the same group again this year. We're expecting a good game."-Chivas USA head coach Martin Vásquez
Keys to the Game
Real Salt Lake
- Seek to expose Chivas USA's weakness in the air
- Set up Alvaro Saborío in one-on-one situations
- Limit Kyle Beckerman's influence in the midfield
- Quickly adjust to absences of Kljestan and Bornstein
Real Salt Lake
PROBABLE: FW Fabían Espíndola (L ankle sprain); MF Nelson González (L hamstring strain)
OUT: DF Ante Jazic (R knee sprain), GK Dan Kennedy (L hip strain); QUESTIONABLE: FW Justin Braun (L knee sprain); PROBABLE: DF Yamith Cuesta (oral surgery), FW Maykel Galindo (L ankly sprain)