Preview: Chivas USA vs. Seattle - U.S. Open Cup Semifinals

Red-and-White look to earn a spot in the Finals for the first time in club history

Chivas USA trained on Tuesday night on the stadium field at
Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Wash., the site of Wednesday night’s U.S.
Open Cup semifinal against Seattle Sounders FC. The match, which kicks off at
7:30 p.m. PT and will be broadcast live on www.SoundersFC.com,
with live updates also on Chivas USA’s twitter account, @cdchivasusa.

Starfire is a familiar site to several Chivas USA players,
as the Red-and-White played an Open Cup match against the Sounders on the field
in 2008. The stadium, which seats about 4000 fans, is sold out for Wednesday’s
game.

“It’s definitely a good atmosphere here,” said Chivas USA
forward Justin Braun. “It’s a small stadium and I heard it’s going to be sold
out, so it’s always fun to play in front of the Seattle crowd. I’m sure they’ll
be loud and give a good atmosphere for us.”

In 2008, Chivas USA lost its Open Cup quarterfinal to the
Sounders, then of the USL, by a 2-0 score. But despite the challenges of
playing on the road, in an intimate and packed venue like Starfire, Braun and
the rest of the team are not shying away from the challenge.

“I think you can definitely hear the fans a little more, but
that kind of fuels me personally,” says Braun. “I like when I can hear the fans
talk to me, it gives me a little more motivation to go out there and play and
prove them wrong.”

“I know when they’re at home they like to get on the other
team from the beginning, so we’re expecting that,” said Chivas USA captain
Jonathan Bornstein. “We’ve got to be good with the ball and create all the
chances we can to get the result and move on to the finals.”

The weather for Tuesday night’s training session was chilly
and rainy, and the team went through passing drills and a small-sided game
before practicing penalty kicks, just in case Wednesday’s game happened to
remained deadlocked through overtime.

Precipitation is unlikely on Wednesday night, though the
gametime temperature is expected to be around 50 degrees. In any weather, the
turf will present some challenges for the team.

“The game is always fast paced,” said Bornstein. “The ball
moves really quickly, especially when that turf gets wet. The games are always
pretty intense, so that’s what we’re expecting.”

“No player really likes the turf, but it looks like they put
some new turf in which is a little more grass-like, which will be nice,” added
Braun.

In any event, Chivas USA will be going all-out for a victory
in the club’s first-ever appearance in a tournament semifinal.

“There’s a lot at stake,” said Braun. “It’s the semifinal of
a big tournament and we’re looking to go out there and win. They’re a quality
team, they’ve had a good run in the league as of late, and I think it’s going
to be a tough match for us. But if we go out there and play the way we’re
capable of playing, we should come away with the win.”