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September 4, 2013 at 11:14 AM

Sounders FC vs. Chivas USA, preview and prediction

Chivas USA LogoSounders FC (12-8-4) vs. Chivas USA (5-14-7)
Wednesday, Sept. 4, 7 p.m., CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Wash.
TV/radio: KONG 6/16, KIRO 97.3 FM (Ross Fletcher, Kasey Keller)
Spanish radio: La Gran D 99.3 FM
Referee: Mark Geiger
Note: This game was rescheduled from April 7 to accommodate a CCL series against Santos Laguna.

KEY CHIVAS USA PLAYERS

F Erick Torres — The young gun has been sensational since coming over from Chivas de Guadalajara. Just 20 years old, but has six goals in seven MLS games — four in his last two — including a stunning bicycle kick Sunday in Vancouver. With such production, many are wondering when the big Chivas will be recalling the man they call “El Cubo”.

M Oswaldo Minda — The 29-year-old DP was a solid addition last year and just recently returned to the lineup after missing nine games to injury. The Ecuadorian is a physical, defensive-minded presence in midfield and will add real bite to the game (13 yellow cards last season is an example of that).

F Julio Morales — Another loanee from the big Chivas has become a regular up front alongside Torres. Also young at 19 years old. Not as productive, he’s got one goal in seven starts, but he’s a key figure in a revamped offense that hasn’t been shut out in four games and has seven goals in that span.

KEY MATCHUPS

Obafemi Martins vs. Carlos Bocanegra — Sigi Schmid said after Tuesday’s practice that he felt good about Martins being able to play, but it wasn’t specified if that would be as a starter or off the bench. Either way, he’s enjoyed playing the Goats, with a goal and two assists in the two wins. And, oh yeah, the last USMNT captain features for the visitors. Haven’t heard much from him recently.

Michael Gspurning vs. Dan Kennedy — Not one of those tradition matchups, but I’d be lying if I felt confident breaking down too much of Chivas USA’s ever-in-flux roster. Both these backstops can change a game, and Kennedy nearly allowed his team to steal a point in the last matchup with six saves (though Seattle’s would eventually complete the comeback win).

Second-half surge vs. spoilers — The Sounders are red hot. They have won five of six and another win would give Seattle a 1.72 points-per-game average, which would be best in MLS. Chivas has done pretty well as a late-season spoiler, however. They stunned the Red Bulls a couple games ago and nearly backed it up Sunday in Vancouver.

PREDICTION

Easy win? I’m not so sure. The Sounders are down four starters from the weekend with Clint Dempsey and Eddie Johnson with the national team, Brad Evans hurt and Leo Gonzalez suspended. Shalrie Joseph and Steve Zakuani are also out. Martins is coming back from injury. That’s a lot of talent.

Schmid said there could be some tactical changes as well as the personnel changes, so it will be interesting to see how the makeshift lineup works. I don’t think I see the visitors scoring against a defense that has recorded back-to-back shutouts, but will Seattle’s short-handed attack find a goal?

I’m guessing yes…

Sounders FC 1, Chivas USA 0

SEA — Lamar Neagle (Marc Burch) 37′

*     *     *

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

| More in Preview and prediction, Sounders FC

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