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July 28, 2013 at 12:11 PM

Sounders FC vs. Chivas USA, preview and prediction

Chivas USA LogoSounders FC (7-7-4) vs. Chivas USA (4-11-5)
Sunday, July 28, 8 p.m., CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Wash.
TV/radio: KONG 6/16, KIRO 97.3 FM (Ross Fletcher, Taylor Graham)
Spanish TV/radio: Univision Deportes Network,  La Gran D 99.3 FM
Referee: Kevin Stott

KEY CHIVAS USA PLAYERS

D Carlos Bocanegra — A big midseason addition, the former captain of the U.S. men’s national team has played just one game for his new club. That one ended a 14-game winless streak, however, which had matched a league record within a season. It might be hard to judge what form he’s in so soon into his MLS return — like can he stop Obafemi Martins? — but the leadership he’ll bring a last-place squad could be immeasurable.

GK Dan Kennedy — Sometimes forgotten, mostly pitied, but still a guy who at his best is among the league’s elite. He’s had a number of big games against the Sounders, but you’d never know it because most came in defeat. The stats will never show the full story (e.g. 1.56 goals-against average) but he is certainly a respected player leaguewide.

F Erick Torres — Another new addition, the 20 year old with the nickname “El Cubo” scored the winner against Toronto in his first game. Not too much is known about him yet, but Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said the talented youngster will be motivated to show well in MLS to get called back to Chivas Guadalajara. Expect to play up top on his own.

KEY MATCHUPS

Carlos Alvarez vs. Servando Carrasco — Schmid said Chivas USA has become more defensive minded since a coaching change. So while the visitors will probably play a lot of guys behind the ball against the Sounders, their first-round pick will be looked upon to ignite the counterattack as a playmaking midfielder. Carrasco has started 12 games in a row and looks to be getting more comfortable with each start.

Tristan Bowen vs. DeAndre Yedlin — Looking at Chivas USA’s scoring leaders isn’t pretty. Bowen is actually the team’s co-leader with two goals. The others with two goals won’t be available as Juan Agudelo is currently with the New England Revolution and Eric Avila is suspended. Yedlin heads off to the MLS All-Star Game after this one, and another solid performance could be a big boost.

History vs. urgency — The Sounders haven’t lost to Chivas USA since 2009, a 7-0-4 unbeaten streak that dates to 2009 when including the U.S. Open Cup. And certainly that would be expected to continue as Seattle came into the year with MLS Cup expectations and the Goats are in last place. That said, the home side needs a win, badly, to get back into the playoff mix.

PREDICTION

Three points. The Sounders are due for a solid performance and a solid win, and I think this game is coming at a perfect time.

It hurts not to have Eddie Johnson, but Seattle should still be able to roll to victory. The hosts are getting healthier and a lineup that includes guys like Martins, Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Mauro Rosales, Lamar Neagle should be enough to get this home win.

Sounders FC 2, Chivas USA 0

SEA — Lamar Neagle (Mauro Rosales) 39′
SEA — own goal, 55′

*     *     *

What do you think? See anything other than three points in this one?

| More in Preview and prediction

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