Preview: Crew vs. Chivas USA
10:30 pm ET; ONN-TV; MLS Direct Kick, Matchday Live
Chivas USA will have a chance to extend their current two-game
unbeaten streak in MLS when they square off against Eastern Conference
leaders Columbus on Saturday night. Currently mired in last place in the
Western Conference, the Goats will be in desperate need of points
against Guillermo Barros Schelotto
& Co. this weekend. The Crew, at the opposite end of the spectrum
from their SoCal rivals, boast an eight-point margin atop their
conference and have lost just three times in 17 games.
The Goats have been up to their eyeballs in matches this July with
the US Open Cup, SuperLiga 2010 and MLS league play all crashing down
on their heads. Saturday’s match will be Chivas USA’s eighth in 28 days,
which brings the team to a staggering average of a game every 3.5 days
over the course of the last four weeks. Much of their success against
Columbus will hinge on their ability to recover during this past week –
their first without a midweek game since the World Cup break.
Chivas USA will also need strong performances from their three
newcomers: Paulo Nagamura, Giancarlo Maldonado and Rodolfo Espinoza. The
trio adds some veteran experience to a young Red-and-White squad, but
the players are still struggling to find their fitness and chemistry
with the team.
Also, Goats new midfielder Sal Zizzo is expected to be able to make his debut.
Columbus’ visit to The Home Depot Center will be just the team’s
second road trip in nine games. The Crew will need to recover from the
long trip to Southern California quickly if they are going to improve on
their mediocre 2-4-1 away record.
Columbus will also hope for quick turnarounds from team leaders Chad Marshall
and Schelotto, both who participated in the 2010 MLS All-Star game on
Wednesday. Each was included in the starting XI for the match, with
Schelotto playing 45 minutes and Marshall playing 63, so fatigue could
be a factor for the veterans.
Heroes & Villains
Giancarlo Maldonado vs. Chad Marshall -- Maldonado, Chivas USA’s new goalscorer, notched his first career MLS assist last Saturday against Real Salt Lake
and will be looking to add a goal to his stats this weekend. Marshall
is no slouch, however, and will pose a formidable obstacle for the
Venezuelan. All eyes will be on this battle, as it’s likely to determine
how fluidly the Goats’ offense is able to function.
Stat that makes you go "Hm..."
Chivas USA have lost to Columbus just once at The Home Depot Center
since the Goats joined the league in 2005. The defeat? A 3-0 drubbing in
the first game the two sides ever played against each other.