Is this facing Chivas USA thing getting a bit tiresome? Throw in an Open Cup match and suddenly the two sides are about to meet their fourth time. The Goats have transitioned quite a bit from that Open Cup meeting (Three Questions, Recap). They've added significant names to the roster but still got blown out by Seattle just a couple weeks ago (Three Questions, Recap). There is little reason to believe that Chivas is that bad.
The talent on the team is strong. James Riley, Danny Califf, Juan Agudelo, Juan Pablo Angel and Shalrie Joseph shouldn't be on a team nearing elimination from Playoff contention. They are though. They will be particularly driven for this match as they are running out of time. Three Questions this week are answered by Luis Bueno (follow him on twitter if you want to know more about SoCal soccer or running). He was kind enough to help us out while Alicia is unavailable.
SaH: Was the defense always bound to give up more goals or is this something more fundamental?
SaH: Shalrie may have started putting his mark on games. Is he part of the surge in offense?
Bueno: I don't think this current horrid defensive form was necessarily bound to happen. To me, this stems from two things: 1) the club's new-found ability to go forward and 2) a lack of confidence. Pushing forward and leaving space for rivals to exploit Chivas' defense has led to goals, as have sloppy turnovers, poor marking and unfortunate decisions which have stemmed from a lack of confidence in their ability to make the kind of defensive plays they'd been making early in the season.
Bueno: Shalrie Joseph had a stellar game against New England but has been influential in several others as well. His distribution from the middle of the field against Seattle was key in the club's attack on Aug. 25, a match that propelled the attack forward. The more comfortable he feels, the more influence he will have.
SaH: What would it take for the Goats to do the improbable and beat out Vancouver for that final spot in the Playoffs?
Bueno: Many may think the playoffs are a pipe dream, given how far back Chivas sit in the table, but games in hand offers hope. Chivas need to find a balance between the attack and their defense. If they can continue playing at this frantic pace they've shown in the last three matches, perhaps put away a few more chances, and get back to their tough-as-nails defense, the club has a chance. But there is no margin for error. Wins have to come and soon or else October will be meaningless.
Projecting a Chivas lineup is impossible. For Seattle it is important to note that Johansson played against China in a friendly today and Martinez is with Honduras beating Cuba. Mario came on in the 15th minute.
Projected Lineup: Gspurning; Gonzalez, Ianni, Parke, Scott; Alonso; Evans, Tiffert, Rosales; Montero, Johnson