Three Key Match-Ups: at Chivas USA

Sounders FC vs. Chivas USA

MLS Regular Season
Wednesday, September 3; 7:30 pm PT; StubHub Center
TV/Radio: JOEtv (KZJO-Ch. 22/Cable 10); THIS-TV (KOMO2); KIRO Radio 97.3 FM; ESPN Deportes Radio, 1490 AM (Spanish)

Sounders FC looks to extend its six-game winning streak and 12-match unbeaten run in the all-time series with Chivas USA on Wednesday at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Here are three matchups that will be key to keeping that impressive streak alive.

Obafemi Martins vs. Dan Kennedy
In three matches against Chivas USA, Martins has two goals and two assists. On both goals, he was sprung behind the defense and he managed to chip an onrushing Kennedy on both occasions. His speed and composure have caused consistent issues for the Chivas defense, and Wednesday sets up to be no different as an in-form Martins is poised to add to his 10 goals and nine assists this season.

Seattle counter attack vs. Chivas transition defense
Chivas has struggled against teams that strike quickly on the counter attack. If Seattle can use the speed of its attacking players and spring early passes after gaining possession, Sounders FC will find scoring opportunities in bunches. This is a point Clint Dempsey has emphasized on occasion in post-game interviews and one that could prove particularly important against a team that has made several defensive changes in recent weeks.

Gonzalo Pineda vs. Set piece defense
Seattle’s goal on Saturday against Colorado was its 10th off of a set piece this season – five from corner kicks, two direct from free kicks and three more indirect from free kicks. With Chad Marshall providing a primary target, there will be opportunities for Pineda to shine in setting up scoring chances from dead ball situations if Seattle can earn them in the attacking third. Pineda is second on the team with seven assists and with Marco Pappa away on international duty, the set piece responsibilities will fall primarily to the veteran midfielder.