Chivas USA try to start a winning run tonight when they host the Montreal Impact at the Home Depot Center (7:30 pm PDT, Prime Ticket/Fox Sports San Diego). Chivas are coming off a poor performance and will want to turn their fortune quickly, and while Montreal have been inconsistent, they have had their moments and could spring a surprise against the Goats. But Chivas will need to take care of their business, and will have to like their chances in this match if they can put it together on short rest.
If you missed it, take a look at the Three Questions Exchange with Sofiane Benzaza from yesterday to get the scoop on Montreal.
Let's get the preview on:
Tale of the Tape:
Chivas USA: 15 points (4-7-3), 6th place in Western Conference, 13th place overall; Goal Difference: -8 (9/17); Last five matches: T-W-T-T-L
Montreal Impact: 15 points (4-7-3), 8th place in Western Conference, 14th place overall; Goal Difference: -3 (19/22); Last five matches: W-T-L-L-WKey Match up: Chivas defense vs. Montreal attack
On paper, I would give Chivas' defense the edge in this match up most of the time, but given the struggles the entire team had last weekend against Real Salt Lake, this is a game for the squad to get back to playing good soccer. Although the Goats' attack needs to get moving as well, and that is the more pressing issue moving forward, the defense needs a good performance tonight in order to get back on track and gain much-needed confidence for the rest of this stretch of games in the next week. Dan Kennedy didn't have a great night, and I expect him to bounce right back, and centerbacks Rauwshan McKenzie and Danny Califf should rebound and turn in a good performance to reinforce why so many people around the league are talking about them as an underrated duo on the backline. In addition to their defensive responsibilities, hopefully Ante Jazic (if he indeed plays, he might be held out) and James Riley can push forward and provide service in the attack, something they have both done from time to time this season.
Montreal has scored considerably more goals than Chivas this season, so it's not as though they will be easily shut down. But Bernardo Corradi, Montreal's leading scorer this season, will be out due to injury, so that should help a little. Still, top MLS SuperDraft pick Andrew Wenger has scored a few goals already this season in limited time, and young Brazilian Felipe Martins has been a bright spot for the Impact. There are other contributors on the offensive end who can also step up, and of course it will be interesting to see if Justin Braun sees playing time against his old team and if he can get a goal at his old stomping ground. Chivas will like their chances tonight in stopping the Montreal attack, but it won't be an easy task by any means. Let's see if the good team through May and most of June shows up, or the team that laid an egg against RSL is on the field once again.
Why Chivas will win this match: Chivas haven't played well at home this season - we all know this. But Montreal have only won one and drawn one match on the road this season, so that should boost the Goats' spirits. Chivas are an improving team, and there are significant signs of progress. Even good teams lose games, although they usually aren't as comprehensive as the one from Saturday. What sets good teams apart from poor teams is the low frequency of losses and the ability to regroup following a loss and turn the form around. Are Chivas a good team? Tonight is a chance to prove that they can beat an inconsistent team. Furthermore, Montreal are coming off an emotional win at the weekend at home, and they might not be able to get the motivation to take this match seriously midweek. Chivas need to capitalize on the opponent, the timing, and the occasion and get three crucial points.
Why Montreal will win this match: Chivas may be saying the right things, but that loss to RSL, plus the growing injury list, may catch them on the back foot against the Impact and Montreal may be able to snatch a rare road win. They have considerable motivation: it is the homecoming for Montreal coach Jesse Marsch, forward Justin Braun, and defender Zarek Valentin, and since the two players were cut loose in the offseason, they will be motivated to show Chivas they made a big mistake in getting rid of them. Plus, Montreal got a huge 4-1 victory over the Seattle Sounders last Saturday, and on the most recent results, Montreal's in much better form than Chivas, with both teams having played tough opponents. Chivas may still have a bit of a hangover from the last match, and Montreal is looking to get respect around the league. This could be a great opportunity to get three vital points for their own playoff push.
Why this match will end in a draw: Typically, you have to take 10% away from both teams for midweek games, due to injuries and squad rotation, and the mental fatigue that leads players to not prepare in the same way as they normally do for regular weekend matches. As a result, draws are often very common in midweek matches. Furthermore, these teams are on completely identical records, and somewhat spookily, their home and road splits totally mirror each other, so Chivas' poor home form and Montreal's poor away form mean that either one team could break form and emerge, or more likely, they'll tie it up. Both teams would be disappointed by a draw in this fixture normally, but again, considering the timing, a draw wouldn't be entirely unexpected and both teams would certainly prefer it to a loss.
Montreal: Matteo Ferrari (quad), Bernardo Corradi (knee)
What do you think? Leave a comment below!