Preview: Chivas USA vs. Columbus Crew
In English on Prime Ticket; In Spanish on KWHY; MLS Direct Kick, Matchday Live
Chivas USA will square off against Eastern Conference leaders Columbus on Saturday evening with a chance to extend the Goats’ MLS unbeaten streak to three. Currently mired in last place in the Western Conference, the Red-and-White will be in desperate need of points against Barros Schelotto and company this weekend. The Crew meanwhile sit at the opposite end of the spectrum from their SoCal rivals; Columbus boasts an eight-point margin atop their conference and have lost just three times in seventeen games.
The Goats have been up to their eyeballs in matches this July with the US Open Cup, the 2010 SuperLiga, and MLS league play all crashing down on their heads in the same month. 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 its three newcomers in Paulo Nagamura, Giancarlo Maldonado and Rodolfo Espinoza. The trio adds some veteran experience to a young Red-and-White squad, but is still struggling with a lack of fitness and chemistry.
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 Guillermo Barros Schelotto, both of whom participated in the 2010 MLS All-Star game on Wednesday. Each was included in the starting XI for the match, with Barros Schelotto playing forty-five minutes and Marshall playing sixty-three. Fatigue could be a factor for the veterans.
Giancarlo Maldonado vs. Chad Marshall
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 though, and will pose a formidable obstacle for the Venezuelan. All eyes will be on this battle, as it’s likely to determine the fluidity of the Goats’ offense.
Stat that makes you go Hmmm….
Chivas USA has 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.