Sounders FC @ Chivas USA
June 1, 2013, 7:30 pm PT, The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
TV/Radio: KONG 6/16; KIRO Radio 97.3 FM; THIS TV 4.2 (Spanish); La Gran D 99.3 FM (Spanish)
Chivas USA is a team in transition after they parted ways with head coach Jose Luis Sanchez Sola on Wednesday, making them a difficult scouting option for the Sounders FC ahead of their match on Saturday. While some philosophies may change under the new coaching regime, the players will be the same.
Here are a few matchups to watch out for in Saturday’s game.
Obafemi Martins vs. Chivas centerbacks
Obafemi Martins is fast and tremendous with the ball at his feet. Headed by Bobby Burling, the Chivas defense is built largely around veterans who have struggled this year keeping up with speedier opponents. Early balls played behind the Chivas defense could present opportunities for Seattle and with Martins likely to start up top with Lamar Neagle, it also could mean frequent scoring chances. Martins and Neagle combined for five goals and one assist in wins over the San Jose Earthquakes and FC Dallas and have shown that they can capitalize when those chances arise.
Servando Carrasco vs. Gabriel Farfan
Carrasco and Farfan are longtime friends that have been playing soccer together for quite some time. Chivas USA acquired the southern California native Farfan late in May and he will likely see a more prominent role under the new coaching staff. Carrasco, meanwhile, has been featured prominently of late for the Sounders of late. He has started each of the last five matches since being injected into the starting lineup against Farfan and the Union on May 4 and with injuries and suspensions to Osvaldo Alonso and Shalrie Joseph, Carrasco has remained embedded in Sigi Schmid’s XI. There may be handshakes and hugs before and after the match, but Carrasco and Farfan will no doubt be fierce in their competition during the 90 minutes between opening kickoff and final whistle.
The Sounders vs. The unknown
Chivas USA has had only two days to train under interim coach Sacha van der Most, who will take the bench until new coach Jose Luis Real arrives from Mexico to take the helm. Just how much van der Most will be able to implement any philosophical changes to the style of play on the field in that time is unclear. Over the first 20 minutes of the match, the Sounders will likely spend some time prodding the Chivas defense to determine the best plans of attack while having veteran players like Djimi Traore available on the defensive side will enable Schmid to make sure that the Sounders are ready to adapt to several different approaches from the Chivas attack.