Three Key Match-Ups: vs. Chivas USA

The California club is back in Seattle to take on the Sounders. Here are the match-ups to keep an eye on tonight.

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 meets Chivas USA for the third time this season on Wednesday at CenturyLink Field. After winning the first two matches, Seattle is looking for the clean sweep to continue its rise through the ranks in the Western Conference standings.

Here are three key matchups as Seattle looks to extend a 10-match unbeaten streak against Chivas USA and a 10-match home unbeaten streak.

Erick Torres vs. Seattle center backs

Last time out on July 28, Torres scored an early goal to give Chivas the lead at CenturyLink Field and this time around Sounders FC has a much better awareness of how to defend the 20-year-old forward on loan from CD Guadalajara. With two straight clean sheets and a 196-minute shutout streak, the Seattle defense has been strong of late and will be put to the test by the feisty Torres, who has four goals in his last two matches. Zach Scott and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado have started the last two matches for Sigi Schmid’s Sounders, but with three matches in eight days, he also has Djimi Traore and Patrick Ianni available to man the middle of the defense.

Osvaldo Alonso vs. Oswaldo Minda

The two disruptive midfield forces might be too occupied with the opponent’s main distributors to spend much time exchanging pleasantries, but the two defensive midfielders will certainly play key roles in their team’s success. In two starts since returning from injury, Minda has returned to his role of unsettling the opposing midfield, all while completing 82.5-percent of his 80 passes. Alonso, meanwhile, has matched all of his defensive numbers, even exceeding him 23-14 in possessions gained in his last two matches. Where Alonso truly separates himself, though, is in his passing. In his last two matches, Alonso has completed 90.8-percent of his 109 passes.

Obafemi Martins vs. Dan Kennedy

Martins has been downright torture for the Chivas defense this year. In a June 1 meeting at the StubHub Center, Martins scored his fourth goal in five matches while providing a constant threat in the attack. On July 28 at CenturyLink Field, he took three shots, but made the greatest impact in setting up a pair of goals by Brad Evans and Lamar Neagle. Kennedy, the league’s leader in saves, will have his work cut out for him with the speedy Martins and Neagle paired up top if that’s the lineup choice Schmid makes. When starting together, they have combined for four goals and five assists in five matches, leading Sounders FC to a 4-0-1 record in those matches.

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