Preview: Chivas USA vs. Real Salt Lake

Goats look to prove they can beat the Champs

Padilla vs. RSL image

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The Basics

Chivas USA vs. Real Salt Lake

Saturday, May 22nd 7:30pm PT

The Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif.

All Time Record: Chivas holds the edge at 7-4-4 in favor of the Goats

TV Info

In English on Prime Ticket, in Spanish on KWHY

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.

Last Meeting

Salt Lake gave Chivas USA a pounding on August 26th of last year, dominating the Red-and-White for a 4-0 victory. Pablo Campos and Fabian Espindola 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.

Remember When?

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 tyear. 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 USA 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 feed good passes forward to the attack.

Álvaro Saborío vs. Michael Umaña and Darío Delgado

Saborío, who leads Salt Lake with four goals so far this season, will come up against two of his countrymen in the forms of Umaña and Delgado on Saturday evening. The three have played on the Costa Rican National Team together at various points, and will certainly be well acquainted with one another. So who comes out on top? The big forward or the pair of center-backs?

Stat that makes you go “Hmmm….”

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 Martín Vásquez