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June 1, 2013 at 12:41 PM

Sounders FC vs. Chivas USA, preview and prediction

Chivas USA LogoSounders FC (4-4-3) vs. Chivas USA (3-7-2)
Saturday, June 1, 7:30 p.m., StubHub Center, Carson, Calif.
TV/radio: KONG 6/16, KIRO 97.3 FM
Spanish TV/radio: THIS-TV (KOMO 4.2), La Gran D 99.3 FM
Referee: Ricardo Salazar

KEY CHIVAS USA PLAYERS

GK Dan Kennedy — Long one of the most sympathetic figures in MLS, as his tremendous performance often goes for naught on a struggling team. His stats never show his value, as seen in his 18 goals allowed, 1.70 goals-allowed-average and zero shutouts. Has been pressed into 42 saves in 954 minutes. Did you see he even scored a penalty kick in the Open Cup?

M Eric Avila — His rights have been held by four different teams in MLS since 2011 (FC Dallas, Toronto FC and Colorado previously). His one goal and two assists make him one of the most productive players on the team, amazingly enough, particularly after the team traded its only multigoal scorer, Juan Agudelo, to New England.

D Bobby Burling — The 6-foot-5 center back is in his second stay with the club (2007-09) after a failed attempt of catching on abroad. That came after Montreal selected him from San Jose in the expansion draft. He’s made nine starts this season, though the matchup against Seattle’s speedy forwards (Obafemi Martins and Lamar Neagle) might not be exactly ideal. He was on the field when the Sounders put up six last year.

KEY MATCHUPS

Jorge Villafana vs. Servando Carrasco — Regardless if Osvaldo Alonso is back in the lineup or not, I still expect Carrasco to get another start (his sixth in a row in MLS, seventh in all competitions). He’s at the top of the depth chart, with Brad Evans out on national team duty and Shalrie Joseph suspended, and he’ll have to deal with Villafana, one of the creators in a dynamic attack with a goal and three assists.

Jose Correa vs. Jhon Kennedy Hurtado — Schmid noted that Chivas USA lineup prediction will be difficult among a coaching change. Well, Correa is pretty much the only healthy forward available with Agudelo now with the Revs and Tristan Bowen recovering from a hamstring injury. He’s got no goals and no assists in 636 minutes, and Seattle’s top 1-v-1 defender will look to keep it that way.

Ricardo Salazar vs. the Sounders — Admittedly, it’s a bit over-dramatic to put it this way, but such is the nature of my preview format. It’s no secret that Salazar isn’t a particular favorite of the Sounders and fans alike. He was in charge of the controversial 2012 Open Cup final, and then coach Sigi Schmid earned a suspension and fine for blasting him after an October game against Real Salt Lake. Seattle is winless in its last four with him in charge, though 8-2-7 overall.

PREDICTION

Chivas USA has been outscored 13-1 in a four-game losing streak. Overall the team is on a 0-6-1 winless streak, which apparently cost Jose Luis Sanchez Sola his job (though, surely there was more involved than that).

Seattle is on a 4-0-4 run in the head-to-head series, including wins in the last two road games by a 9-3 goal margin. Even with the Sounders recent struggles, the team’s international absences, a few injuries and a far-from-preferred referee assignment, there’s no way I see Chivas getting anything out of this one (particularly with a youth coach in charge in the interim).

Believe it or not, a Seattle win would give it the second-best 12-game start in franchise history…

Sounders FC 2, Chivas USA 0

SEA — Obafemi Martins (Mauro Rosales) 35′
SEA — Mario Martinez (un) 64′

*     *     *

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

| More in Preview and prediction

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