Sounders FC vs. Chivas USA
September 4, 2013, 7 pm PT; CenturyLink Field
TV/Radio: KONG 6/16; KIRO Radio 97.3 FM; La Gran D 99.3 FM (Spanish)
Sounders FC has two streaks on the line on Wednesday as it meets Chivas USA in a match rescheduled from its original date of April 7.
Seattle hasn’t lost at CenturyLink Field since the season-opening match against the Montreal Impact on March 2, spanning 10 matches that has seen Sounders FC go 7-0-3 in front of its home fans. Seattle also has gone 10 matches without a loss to Chivas USA, going 6-0-4 on a streak that dates back to 2009.
Winners in five of its last six matches in MLS play, Sounders FC is aiming to continue its climb up the Western Conference standings, though Head Coach Sigi Schmid knows it won’t be easy against a Chivas USA team that has seen a resurgence of late, paced by the play of on-loan forward Erick Torres.
“They’re definitely an improved team. They’re more organized defensively,” Schmid said. “They’re more structured in their system of play.”
Torres, 20, has six goals in just seven appearances for Chivas since coming on loan from CD Guadalajara in July, including a pair of two-goal games against the New York Red Bulls and Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the last two matches.
He also scored against Seattle on July 28 in his second match in MLS, making him a prime target for the Sounders FC defense in their efforts to maintain a shutout streak that has now gone 196 minutes.
“We’ve got to know where he is and we’ve got to keep an eye on him,” Schmid said.
Torres isn’t the only change for Chivas, though.
The Goats also brought in Carlos Bocanegra as a central figure to the defense and brought back Oswaldo Minda from injury to lock down the midfield.
Chivas has had success of late, getting points in three of the last four matches, but Seattle has been the hottest team in MLS over the last six matches, collecting 15 out of 18 possible points.
Despite recent successes, Sounders FC goes into the match needing to make four lineup changes. Clint Dempsey and Eddie Johnson are away with the U.S. National Team for World Cup qualifying matches against Costa Rica on Friday and Mexico on September 10. Brad Evans left Saturday’s match early with a calf strain and was ruled out of Wednesday’s match while Leo Gonzalez will serve a red card suspension.
Already playing without Shalrie Joseph and Steve Zakuani, Schmid will need to do some lineup shuffling to keep Seattle’s streaks alive.
“It’s an opportunity week for guys to step up and play,” Schmid said. “We’ve got to switch out some players, but depending on the players we have, we might have to tactically move some things around.”
After Wednesday’s match against Chivas, Sounders FC will host the Chicago Fire on Saturday to finish off a string of three matches in eight days.