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Chivas USA is bowling-shoe ugly. They have scored goal 21 goals and conceded 49, for a goal differential that is somehow even worse than Toronto FC's. Playing in Los Angeles on Sunday, the Goats lost 4-0 to Real Salt Lake thanks in part to an Alvaro Saborio hat trick. Peter Vagenas played 73 minutes in that game. Their leading scorer is What's Left of Juan Pablo Angel, with four. They haven't gotten a point on the road since August 29 (@ New England) and haven't had a win since July 28 (@ Portland). They are, incredibly, in worse form than the Vancouver Whitecaps, with two points in their last ten matches.
Chivas USA is just so bad at soccer. I'd give the Whitecaps Residency fair odds against them in a home match. They are in ruins and have absolutely nothing to play for; certainly not the pride of their dozen-odd fans or the future goals of a bunch of has-beens and never-wases.
I am as a rule reluctant to call matches "must-win", as you've doubtless noticed if you somehow manage to slog through all these interminable, interchangeable, largely interbullshital game previews every month or so when I bother to write one. But this is a must-win. If the Whitecaps can't get three points off Chivas USA, at home, with every motivation, then fuck us.
On Saturday, FC Dallas plays this same Chivas squad at the Home Depot Center while Vancouver is off. Dallas will win that game, don't you doubt it; they're in good form and will have the advantage of rest. If the Whitecaps get only a draw tonight that will mean Dallas will move ahead of Vancouver for the last playoff spot on goals for with two games to go.
It wouldn't be the death of Vancouver's playoff hopes, but you could begin planning the funeral.
Yes, Darren Mattocks is out (well, questionable) after an uncalled thuggish play in the box in the first half against the Seattle Sounders. Omar Salgado looks like he should make it to the bench, though, and besides that it's Chivas USA. Are you kidding me? The Whitecaps should be able to open up the throttle and bang a goal or two home even if it's Camilo "Shanks" Sanvezzo, Caleb Clarke, and some guy who waved his BMO card up front. Kenny Miller seriously challenged a decent Seattle defense on the weekend; if he can't do the same against a gawdawful Chivas defense then maybe we should stick to hockey.
If I were Martin Rennie, my whiteboard would read "Chivas is bad, beat the hell out of them" and nothing else. This is why it's a good thing I'm not a soccer coach, but that's really what it comes down to. Vancouver is having some bad luck, in some bad form, haven't quite got the chemistry yet. Chivas out-and-out sucks completely so if you don't win then you don't deserve the playoffs anyway.