Clash in the capital.
DC United: United's injury woes have finally abated. After a torrid time with injuries to start the season, United is finally getting some of their players back. The only players left out for United are three defenders, Dejan Jakovic, Marc Burch, and Bryan Namoff. While and D.C. still miss those players, the return of Santino Quaranta and Chris Pontius will give the team a boost going forward.
Chivas USA: The Goats were once again unlucky to come away with no points against Real Salt Lake, but there were a couple of positive performances of note. Mariano Trujillo showed his experience filling in as captain in the absence of USMNT campers and Chivas USA co-captains, Sacha Kljestan and Jonathan Bornstein. Additionally, Ben Zemanski and Blair Gavin showed that they could be trusted to take charge of the Goat’s midfield with a spirited performance.
DC United: Troy Perkins. Sorry United fans, it appears as if United made a big mistake in entrusting Perkins this time around. After Bill Hamid got several starts in goal, Perkins returned for the match against Houston, and the backline continued to struggle. Not only is Perkins allowing goals that the youngster Hamid is keeping out, but Perkins just doesn't seem capable of organizing his backline efficiently. The difference in the two halves against AC Milan were stark. With Hamid in goal in the first half, the defense looked much better.
Chivas USA: Spirited performances aside, the Goats lack a tangible threat at the striker position. Martin Vasquez has tried to cover the absence of Maykel Galindo with the likes of Justin Braun, Chukwudi Chijindu, Maicon Santos and Jesus Padilla, but all the fluid movement that the midfield generates goes wasted for long stretches during games.
DC United: For the first time in a while, Curt Onalfo has an entirely fit midfield to work with. With the return of Santino Quaranta and Chris Pontius, Onalfo can choose his best four for the first time since the opening match of the season. So which four will he go for? With Quaranta and Pontius out, Onalfo opted for the two in the bucket approach, starting both Clyde Simms and Kurt Morsink. But that meant that United's forwards were starved of service. So expect one of those to start, with Quaranta to complete the pair. Pontius' performance against Milan will have earned him a start, with either Andy Najar or Christian Castillo on the opposite wing.
Chivas USA:The Goats came out in a 4-4-1-1 against RSL, with Gavin in place of Kljestan as the withdrawn striker and rookie Carlos Borja at left back. With Kljestan’s release from the National Team, look for the offense to get a boost as he may return to the lineup this weekend. Borja acquitted himself well in his first start of the season and did not appear to give Vasquez a reason to exclude him in the starting lineup in place of Bornstein.
DC United: How about that win against AC Milan? There are two important aspects to take from that victory. Firstly, United scored. One goal was a well worked move, with Stephen King's cross headed back across the goal for Luciano Emilio to poke home. Another came from a set piece, and the third came from hard work. If United can keep that up, they just might have a chance to win. The second important aspect was how United held on in the final minutes. After Brandon Barklage went down with an injury, United was forced to play the last 25 minutes down a man. And while they conceded twice, they held on for the victory, which should provide some boost in confidence.
Chivas USA: Chivas USA head back on the road after a crushing loss to RSL in the final minute. Their lineup may be reinforced this week with Kljestan, Galindo and Romero, or they may be without all three. In any case Chivas USA’s squad knows that it can play with any team in the league and that moral victories have come more often this season than real victories.
DC United: United can hang their hat on the fact that at some point, a couple of results will go their way. With all forwards and midfielders available for this matchup against Chivas USA, look for D.C. to sneak a win with a 2-1 victory.
Chivas USA:DC United 1- 2 Chivas USA: Two teams at the bottom of the table in their respective conferences know that there are points to be had in this game. Chivas USA has played better than DC United all season long, and it is their game to lose. That said, nothing should be considered a given with the Goats this season.
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