Champs take on Western rivals.
Chivas USA, by Manuel Carrera: Sacha Kljestan and Chivas USA certainly deserved more in their loss at Columbus on Saturday. Chivas USA were able to move the ball effectively against a veteran team on the road and were unlucky to come away with a point. Chivas USA return home after dominating stretches of the game in the midfield.
Real Salt Lake, by Jeremy Horton: RSL are brimming with confidence after their last match when they dismantled the always-tough Houston Dynamo at home on national TV. The midfield is really clicking right now - Javier Morales is getting better every week after missing a few matches with an injury. When he's on, Real are really tough to stop, and right now Morales is definitely on. And Alvaro Saborio is turning heads across the country with his deadliness in front of goal - he is the reigning MLS Player of the Week after netting a brace against the Dynamo.
Chivas USA: Chivas USA begin life without their co-captains, Kljestan and Bornstein, pending Bob Bradley’s final roster decision. This is a major issue for a team that is either very young, or new to the team. The Chivas USA attack will suffer the most because their midfield features two rookies and two players, Jesus Padilla and Michael Lahoud, who are in only their second season with the club. This may be a chance for Osael Romero to finally live up to the promise that accompanied him to Los Angeles.
Salt Lake: Salt Lake will be missing two key starters this week: Midfielder Will
Johnson is off with the Canadian nats as they take on Argentina in a pre-World Cup friendly. Johnson does a lot of the little things in the midfield, so his absence won't go unnoticed. Also missing will be forward Robbie Findley, who is on some sort of camping trip with Bob Bradley and 29 other soccer players. Findley was finally starting to wake up when he was called off to camp, so replacing him won't be easy.
Chivas USA: Chivas USA have run a 4-5-1 in recent weeks, but the departure of Bornstein may mean that they utilize a 3-5-2 because of a lack of depth on the back line, or they may look to utilize Yamith Cuesta, their third center back, as the fourth defender. Romero and Maykel Galindo are approaching match fitness, but neither is likely appear for the Goats this weekend.
Salt Lake: No reason to mess with what's working, so don't expect any significant tactical changes against Chivas. But in the absence of Johnson and Findley, there will need to be some lineup changes. Johnson's spot will almost certainly be taken by Ned Grabavoy, who is coming back from injury at just the right time. Grabavoy played 30 minutes in a friendly last weekend, so he should be good to go. But Findley's absence creates a bit of a pickle - with Fabian Espindola still hurt, RSL are out of small, speedy forward options. They will likely have to go with Pablo Campos alongside Saborio - not an ideal combination, but one that will suffice in a pinch.
Chivas USA: The young Goats will be at home playing against the defending champions with two of the starting eleven slots open, meaning that there will be ample opportunity for substitutes to state their case for more playing time. Real Salt Lake’s Kyle Beckerman, though, may utilize the opportunity to prove Bob Bradley wrong for overlooking him.
Salt Lake: After winning three in a row, RSL might be the hottest team in MLS.
They will be inspired and confident when they roll into SoCal. That
said, RSL have still not proven themselves on the road, and
historically the Home Depot Center hasn't been too kind to them.
Chivas USA: Chivas USA 1-1 Real Salt Lake: Real Salt Lake will prove to be an interesting opponent for Chivas USA. A possession style team, without their star forward, just like the Goats.
Salt Lake: Salt Lake will try to play the game the way they always do, and who
knows which Chivas team will show up. RSL are playing well at the
moment, but carrying that momentum onto the road always seems to elude
them. Real Salt Lake 2-2 Chivas USA.
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