Research confirms* that the best way to kick off the NFL season is to watch the Seattle Sounders get three points on the road. So snag a beer, lace up those boots, and get ready for a road trip to California, where the Sounders face Chivas USA, a team that has failed to score in their last 6 MLS matches and failed to win any of their last 6 matches against the Sounders.
Is this game a trap? Let's dive into the data to see what we can uncover.
* (Sample size: 1 SassySusie)
Player / Injury Updates
Chivas USA will come to this game without their leading scorer Erick Torres, who snagged a red card in the 75th minute against the L.A. Galaxy (Torres was already set to miss the match after being called up by the Mexican national team). Sounders fan favorite Mauro Rosales leads the team in assists, but recently moved to Vancouver in a trade that brought Nigel Reo-Coker to the Goats. Midfielder Martín Rivero is out for the season with a torn ACL. Captain Carlos Bocanegra also missed last weekend's game, and 5 games prior to that, after suffering a concussion in July.
UPDATE: Martin Chavez is also out, as he will join Honduras for Copa Centroamericana.
Chivas lost a former Sounder, but they gained another one: feisty center back Jhon Kennedy Hurtado played his first game with the Goats over the weekend.
Meanwhile, the Sounders are healthy. I almost feel guilty typing that. However, Marco Pappa was called up by the Guatemelan national team to play in the Copa Centroamericana, and three players are just one yellow card away from a suspension: DeAndre Yedlin, Zach Scott, and Osvaldo Alonso.
It's no surprise WhoScored.com rated possession as a Goats weakness. Their 46% possession rate and 76% pass completion rate are the worst in the league. Chivas also falls at the bottom of the league in goals scored and shot accuracy (42%). The Sounders, on the other hand, lead the league in shot accuracy, at 52%.
Stefan Frei: shutout extraordinaire. He leads all MLS goalkeepers with 8 shutouts. Frei is also fifth in saves with 78.
All signs point to a Sounders road victory. But in the magical roller coaster that is the MLS, anything can happen. Here's to a few ObaFlips, DeuceFlicks, LeoThrows, and AirMarshall goals.