Know Your Enemy: Chivas USA
FC Dallas returns home to Toyota Stadium this weekend for a matchup against Western Conference rival Chivas USA.
These two clubs met back in March in the third weekend of the season. FC Dallas came away with a 3-1 win over Chivas at that time with goals coming from Fabian Castillo, Je-Vaughn Watson and Michel. That game was riddled with fouls committed by both sides with a total of 38 combined fouls, eight yellow cards and one red card issued in the game.
Chivas USA has struggled under first-year head coach Wilmer Cabrera this season, going 2-5-3 so far. The Goats did however pick up a win last weekend in Colorado, a 3-1 decision over the Rapids.
Chivas is currently dealing with a couple injuries at the moment. Rookies Tommy McNamara and Tony Lochhead along with defenders Lyle Martin and Andrew Jean-Baptiste are all out with long term injuries.
Bobby Burling and Matthew Dunn are both question marks for Saturday’s game.
One week ago Chivas USA made a pair of moves to help re-tool their attack. Cabrera brought in former FCD midfielder Marvin Chavez from Colorado and Ryan Finley from Columbus.
In exchange, the Rojiblancos sent striker Luke Moore to the Rapids and their conditional second round pick in the 2016 Major League Soccer SuperDraft to the Crew. Moore was subsequently traded to Toronto FC.
Chivas also added former Colorado midfielder Martin Rivero back in April to help boost their attack.
Victor Ulloa vs. Martin Rivero – With Hendry Thomas out for FC Dallas, the weight of the midfield may go to the young Homegrown. Ulloa has shown well in recent weeks against top competition and Rivero will certainly pose a threat in the middle of the field for Chivas USA. Rivero is a shifty type of player who does a good job of finding an open teammate.
Blas Perez vs Carlos Bocanegra - Perez has struggled in the finishing department as of late, but he should have his chances in this one given how well FCD does on the wings. That means he and Bocanegra will be going head-to-head in this match. If Perez can draw Bocanegra out, it will force the rest of the Chivas defense to pull away from Dan Kennedy’s goal as well, allowing extra space for a Castillo, Watson or Tesho Akindele run behind them.
Key Player for Chivas USA
Erick Torres – The Guadalajara loanee continues to be a major threat in the Chivas USA attack. Currently he leads the club with eight goals this season, good enough for third-best in all of MLS.
Cabrera has used a 4-2-3-1 formation recently.
Goalkeeper: Dan Kennedy; RB: Eric Avila; CB: Carlos Bocanegra, Bobby Burling; LB: Donny Toia; CM: Oswaldo Minda, Agustin Pelletieri; RM: Mauro Rosales; AM: Martin Rivero; LM: Leandro Barrera; FW: Erick Torres
Keys to three points
The recent additions of Rivero and Chavez give the Goats a new life in the attack. They, along with Mauro Rosales, give Chivas more possession and chances in their attack, which is good for Torres.
FC Dallas will need to get back to basics here to end their current four game losing skid. Smart possession, wing play, converting on set pieces and discipline will go a long way in helping win this game.
Chivas is a club that can frustrate FCD with their skill in the midfield. To counter that, Oscar Pareja needs to make sure his team is smart with their passing in the back and into the midfield with emphasis on wing play. Chivas doesn’t have the speed on the outside that FCD possesses. If FCD can command the wings and give guys like Perez and Danny Garcia quality chances on the ball, it will keep the Chivas attack at bay.
On the defensive end, FCD has to remain disciplined in their approach. This will likely be another physical game against Chivas. If FCD can be on the better end of the discipline, they should have a good shot at winning this game.