Chivas USA and Toronto playing for pride as both clubs look to end the year strong
10:30 p.m. ET; Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Sports en Español, GOL TV Canada
Chivas USA have been eliminated from the 2010 MLS playoffs, and though Toronto can still slip into the postseason, their chances are slim. That means Saturday’s game will likely be a tense affair, with each side looking to salvage some pride after a tough season as well as begin the retooling process for next year.
The Goats have never lost to Toronto at the Home Depot Center and have no intention of doing so this weekend, while TFC will be eager to improve on their poor 2-2-9 road record.
The Goats have struggled to find their rhythm lately, with last Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Los Angeles extending their winless streak to three games.
An unproductive offense has badly hindered the Red-and-White’s progress of late – the team has scored just one goal in the last 325 minutes of play. But this is not a new problem for Martín Vásquez’s men; Chivas USA have scored 26 goals so far in 2010, good for second-worst in all of MLS. With Giancarlo Maldonado back on the pitch after recovering from an injury, Saturday should be a good chance for the Goats to reconnect with the back of the net.
The match against TFC is also the first of four games that striker Justin Braun has left to impress US national team boss Bob Bradley. The big 23-year-old has enjoyed a breakout season and has put himself in the conversation about the future of the national team’s striker corps in recent weeks. He will look to improve on his current tally of nine goals in an attempt to get an invite to play with the US against South Africa in November.
The 2010 season has been a tumultuous one for the Reds. After firing Preki as head coach and appointing assistant Nick Dasovic as interim boss last month, the team has gone 1-2 and continues to struggle with on-field chemistry and tactics.
In addition, a busy schedule that includes a number of midweek CONCACAF Champions League matches often sends the Canadians all over the American continent and have distracted them from their MLS schedule.
On the plus side, though, team leader Dwayne De Rosario has once again proven his mettle with an impressive haul of 13 goals so far this season, two behind Edson Buddle in the chase for the MLS Golden Boot. The Reds have also found themselves a unique attacking weapon in Dan Gargan, whose long throw-ins have defenses everywhere nervous.
"We still want to finish with the maximum points that we can from now on," said TFC striker Chad Barrett. "We want to go out on a high. We still gotta go out there and give everything we've got."
Heroes & Villains
Ante Jazic vs. Dwayne De Rosario and Julian de Guzman: Toronto’s attack is lead by the potent partnership of De Rosario and de Guzman. Standing in their way, however, will be veteran Chivas USA defender Ante Jazic, who is a teammate of both on the Canadian national team. While the trio may be friends on the international scene, there won’t be any favors paid on Saturday.
“I have a lot of friends on Toronto from playing with Canada,” said Jazic after training on Tuesday, “but they aren’t friends anymore when the whistle blows.”
Stat that makes you go "Hmm"
Chivas and Toronto have never played to a 0-0 draw. Odds are at least one goal will be scored in Carson on Saturday.