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May 26, 2012 at 2:55 PM

Sounders FC vs. Chivas USA, preview and prediction

Chivas USA Logo.jpgSounders FC (7-3-2) at Chivas USA (4-6-2)

Saturday, May 26, 7:30 p.m., The Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif.

TV/radio: KING-5 TV, 97.3 KIRO-FM (Ross Fletcher, Kasey Keller)

Spanish TV/radio: KOMO2 (Ch. 114), La Gran D 99.3 FM

Referee: Chris Penso

KEY CHIVAS USA PLAYERS

GK Dan Kennedy — The 29 year old has probably been the team’s best player the past few years as he consistently comes up with big saves to preserve points. Has played every minute this season and boasts a pretty good stat-line: 1.08 goals-against average, 45 saves, three shutouts, 74-percent save percentage.

D Danny Califf — He’ll be the first opponent the Sounders have faced twice this season (played a full 90 in Seattle on May 5 in a 1-0 loss). Was in a tough situation in Philadelphia but a new start, one close to home for the California native, could give him a boost. Sigi Schmid, who coached Califf with the Galaxy, called him a “defender’s defender” and he’ll make his presence known.

F Juan Agudelo — Let’s make it two-for-two with the team’s newcomers. The young U.S. men’s national team forward was recently acquired from New York, where he wasn’t getting much time. Has all the talent to make an eventual move to Europe and establish himself as a USMNT regular. We saw that talent last year at Red Bull Arena, when he scored a great goal.

KEY MATCHUPS

Brad Evans vs. Oswaldo Minda — Both teams will be without a key player in the middle of the field: Seattle’s Osvaldo Alonso is suspended for a dangerous tackle Wednesday and Chivas USA’s Nick LaBrocca has a hamstring strain. The battle for influence of the game will fall largely on these two.

Juan Pablo Angel vs. Jhon Kennedy Hurtado — The Colombians meet again. Chivas USA’s forward has performed well since returning from the head injury with goals in his last two starts. Hurtado has played him tough in the past and only played a few minutes Wednesday, so he should be fresh and ready to go.

Hot vs. cold — More often than not this season, the Sounders have come into the game in better form. This time that isn’t the case. Seattle is winless in its last three games and Chivas USA is unbeaten in its last three. The L.A. club has also given the Rave green it’s share of difficulty in the past.

PREDICTION

With the injuries and suspensions the Sounders have faced in the back, I expect the visitors to play a bit cautiously in this one. Typically that’s not Seattle’s style, and I don’t think they’ll completely bunker for 90 minutes, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a slower pace.

And despite the addition of Califf — even with the experience and knowledge of ex-Sounder James Riley back there — I’m not sure the Chivas USA back line will be able to keep Seattle off the scoresheet.

I think the teams each come out of this one with a goal and a point.

Sounders FC 1, Chivas USA 1

CHV — Jose Correa (James Riley) 34′

SEA — Alvaro Fernandez (Mauro Rosales) 50′

* * *

What do you think? How do you see this one playing out?

COMMENTS

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