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Know Your Enemy: Chivas USA

FC Dallas is back at home on Thursday for the first of two games this week. Up first is an Independence Day meeting with Chivas USA.

The 2013 season has been rather interesting for Chivas USA. The first month of the season saw plenty of new faces and three surprising wins, including a 3-1 win over FC Dallas. But ever since the month of April, the Goats have been in a fast downward spiral.

Chivas USA is winless in their last 11 matches dating back to April 13th. During that stretch, they removed their head coach Jose Luis “El Chelis” Sanchez Sola and replaced him with interim manager Jose Luis Real.

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Chivas USA is currently 9th place in the Western Conference with 12 points on the season. 

This past week has been a very interesting one for the Goats as they released several players before announcing the signing of former US National team captain Carlos Bocaengra. The veteran defender will not be available for Thursday’s game however.

Dallas is 5-2-5 in all-time meetings against Chivas USA in Frisco.

Key Matchups

Josue Soto vs Jackson – Jackson has been fairly quiet these last couple of games for Dallas, which means this match up could be big for his confidence. Soto is a young player that is prone to mistakes at times. Dallas will want to use Jackson’s speed on the wings to pressure him into bad situations.

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Tristan Bowen vs Matt Hedges – The speed of Bowen could be an issue for the Dallas defense, not to mention his ability to score from anywhere on the pitch. Hedges will need to keep a close mark on Bowen, as he is typically in a lone striker role.

Key Player for Chivas

Dan Kennedy – The veteran keeper is about the only consistent player the Goats have left at the moment. If Kennedy comes up big on the day like he has done so in the past against Dallas, it will keep Chivas in the thick of things.

Injury Watch

There aren’t too many injuries listed right now for Chivas. Daniel Atunez has been out with ACL reconstruction. Tim Melia and Oswaldo Minda are also listed as out. Edgar Mejia and Aaron Ponce are questionable.  

Projected Lineup

Ever since Luis Real took over as manager of Chivas he has switched the formation up a bit to a 4-1-4-1 look, which sometimes resembles a 4-5-1.

Goalkeeper: Dan Kennedy; RB: Carlos Borja, CB: Walter Vilchez, Mario de Luna, LB: Josue Soto; RM: Martin Ponce; CM: Carlos Alvarez, Marco Delgado, Gabriel Farfan; LM: Jorge Villafana; FW: Tristan Bowen

Keys to three points

Chivas is a team that is still in transition here. In their last 11 games they have two draws and nine losses. Their fast and fluid approach under Chelis has changed into a more direct approach under Luis Real.

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Dallas will want to maintain possession and make Chivas chase the game. When Dallas has been very successful this season it has been due to their wide play and the ability to switch the point of the attack from side to side. If Dallas works the ball around the field throughout the match, it will keep Chivas from being able to get any momentum going up front.

Defensively, Dallas will need to stand their ground against a quick and young team. Chivas has little to lose at this point in the year and with many changes still on the horizon with their roster, players will want to prove their worth. Dallas just need to lock down the possession in the back.

To simply put it, this is a game that Dallas should win. They are at home against one of the league’s worst teams, anything less than three points will be a disappointment. As long as Dallas controls the possession, gets a few set pieces and plays smart defensively, three points won’t be an issue.