Preview: July 21 vs. Pachuca
Who: Chivas USA vs. C.F. Pachuca
What: 2010 SuperLiga
When: Wednesday, July 21st at 7:30pm PT
Where: The Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif.
With just one round of games left to play in the 2010 SuperLiga’s opening stage, Chivas USA and Pachuca will meet at The Home Depot Center with a chance for a spot in the tournament’s semifinals still available for the Red-and-White.
The Goats have had a rough time in SuperLiga this year, dropping a tight 2-1 decision to Puebla last Thursday before earning a 1-1 draw against the Dynamo in Houston on Sunday. Pachuca has also been struck with a case of bad luck, losing 2-1 to Houston before falling 3-1 to Puebla last Sunday.
All that being said, neither team has any plans to take it easy on Wednesday evening in front of what will likely be a boisterous Home Depot Center crowd.
The odds of advancing out of group play are slim for the home team, but the Goats have committed to making a go of it. Chivas USA currently sit in third place in SuperLiga’s Group A with one point from their first two games. The Red-and-White will need a win against Pachuca coupled with a loss for Houston if they are to see semifinal action. On top of that, the Goats will need to make up a goal differential against the Dynamo that currently stands at +2 in favor of Houston.
What does that mean for Wednesday evening’s game? It means that Chivas USA will likely have to do more than just win; they have to win big. Expect plenty of offense from the Goats and a lineup that will likely continue to include new signings Giancarlo Maldonado and Rodolfo Espinoza.
Espinoza, who has experience in the Mexican First Division with Necaxa, Atlante, and Chiapas, has been on fire since he arrived in Los Angeles. The Mexico City native has notched assists in both of the Red-and-White’s first two SuperLiga games and has played every minute since arriving. It looks like Chivas USA Head Coach Martín Vásquez has finally found his go-to guy on the right side of midfield.
Pachuca has been mathematically eliminated from the 2010 SuperLiga after two losses from the first two group stage games, but the team has no intention of taking it easy on Chivas USA. With the 2010-2011 Mexican First Division just around the corner, the Tuzos will be looking for a pick-me-up win against the Red-and-White on Wednesday.
Pachuca will also use the game as a chance to continue integrating the team’s offseason signings into the squad. American striker Herculez Gomez and Mexican midfield legend Braulio Luna have only just joined the Tuzos and are still finding their feet with their new teammates. Gomez will be of particular interest to the Goats’ defenders; the Las Vegas native was the first American to win a foreign scoring title by netting ten times last season for Puebla FC. Expect a good battle between Gomez and Chivas USA left back Jonathan Bornstein, who were teammates on the U.S. Team that just returned from the 2010 FIFA World Cup.