Preview: Chivas USA vs. FC Dallas, August 21, 2013

FC Dallas Keeper Raul Fernandez earned All-Star honors in his first season with the club. Fernandez's predecessor, Kevin Hartman, had been with the club since 1997. - Jamie Squire

Let's get ready to rumble!

It's the final meeting of these two teams in 2013 calendar. In their final match last year, FC Dallas had lost a 2-0 lead as Chivas scored in the 90th minute and again in stoppage time.

In case you missed it, you can read the Three Questions we did with Brian from Big D Soccer here, and you read our answers to their questions here.

Tale of the Tape:

Chivas USA: 18 points (4-13-6), 9th place in Western Conference, 18th place overall; Goal Difference: -20 (20/40); Last six matches: D-L-W-L-L-D

FC Dallas: 33 points (8-7-9), 8th place in Western Conference, 14th place overall; Goal Difference: -4 (31/35); Last six matches: L-L-D-L-D-L

Key Match-up: Chivas USA's holding midfielders versus FC Dallas's new faces

Though they sit on an eleven game winless streak, FC Dallas have shown signs of life scoring four goals in their last two contests. This turnabout coincides with Dallas's two new international signings:  Argentine midfielder (and designated player) Mauro Diaz and Brazilian midfielder Erick.

Diaz made his Dallas debut over the weekend, scoring the side's solitary goal. Erick, has started the club's last two games. The timing bodes well for Dallas as striker Blas Perez is one caution away from a one-game suspension due to yellow card accumulation, Eric Hassli is out and Kenny Cooper's 18 goal outburst from last year is a distant memory.

Whoever Real places in the holding midfield roles, Carlos Alvarez and Carlos Borja have manned the positions recently, will be pivotal to Chivas's success. If they are able to provide adequate cover for the back four, nullify the Dallas attack and then quickly initiate a counter, I think Chivas stands a good chance of taking some points from this match.

Speaking of the back four, Chivas will again be without Carlos Bocanegra. Boca served his one game suspension but he's listed on the MLS Injury Report as being out with a knee strain. It seems reasonable to expect Steve Purdy to make a consecutive first team starts for the first time since the beginning of the 2011 season with the promoted Portland Timbers side. Purdy and fellow centerback Mario de Luna must mark the FC Dallas attackers well, be physical and suppress Dallas's aerial attack.

Why Chivas will win this match: Dallas is mired in a slump and the past two meetings have been dominated by the Goats. Chivas won the first meeting 3-1 win in March. Even though the last match was a 0-0 tie, Dallas keeper Raul Fernandez was under siege making seven saves compared to Dan Kennedy's one.

Recent history shows that if you get the lead or keep it level through the first hour that Dallas will implode. They are a very passionate side with a penchant to combust.

If Chivas can get under their skin, just the team angry, forcing Dallas into it's second half pattern of reckless challenges and arguing with the officials and just flat out not playing their game, that could reap huge dividends for the Goats.

Why Dallas will win this match: Dallas is backed against the wall and this is a must-win game. Despite their recent swoon, FC Dallas remains very much in the thick of the playoff hunt, though they are on the outside looking in. Chivas, while they aren't mathematically eliminated from postseason contention, they would need equals parts luck, divine intervention and a series of 80's montages to put this team in contention.

If FC Dallas can own the final third, take the ball to the corners and use their height and physicality in the box, this match could be truly nasty, brutish, and short for Chivas USA.

Why this match will end in a draw: It has all the makings of a nil-all draw. Both sides reside in the conference gutter with a combined 1-7-4 record in their last 12 games. Chivas, a young side, has ten days of rust to kick off. Dallas, an older, veteran side has had four short days to rebound from a road trip to Oregon.

This has all the makings of a fracas that could quickly get out of hand. Without question there will be yellow cards. It's important that referee Juan Guzman and his crew keep control of this game. Between the two sides, ten players are two or less yellow cards away from suspension.

Notable absences:

Chivas: Gabriel Farfan (Suspension), Tristan Bowen (Suspension), Daniel Atunez (left ACL), Carlos Bocanegra (right knee strain), Caleb Calvert (right 1st metatarsal fracture), Tim Melia (lumbar distectomy)

Dallas: Andrew Jacobson (hamstring strain), Eric Hassli (lower back strain), Zach Loyd (ACL strain), Walker Zimmerman (right hamstring strain)

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