MLS Preview and Prediction: FC Dallas vs Colorado Rapids

Competition: Major League Soccer – FC Dallas vs. Colorado Rapids

Venue: Toyota Stadium – Saturday, September 10 – 21:00 ET (02:00 BST) 

Match Odds: Dallas 8/13 – Draw 13/5 – Colorado 9/2

Match Preview

FC Dallas welcome Western Conference rivals Colorado Rapids to Toyota Stadium on Saturday night in a game which could have a huge impact on the race for the Supporters’ Shield.

Dallas lead the way in the overall standings by five points and a win here would put them in a really strong position to push on for silverware.

A loss would be a devastating result, as Colorado have two games in hand on them and trail by just five points, and it would open up the chance for other sides to close the gap.

Dallas come into this one having won 3-1 against Portland, stretching their unbeaten home run to 21 games.

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Although Colorado have two games in hand they have plenty of work to do if they are to make up the ground on Dallas.

A draw in this one would be a solid result. Considering they face a Dallas side who have an incredible record at home, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see The Rapids set out to frustrate their opponents.

Colorado come into this one off the back of their 2-0 away loss to New England. The Rapids have now lost their last two and are winless in four.

Worryingly for Colorado they haven’t won in their last six on the road, losing three and drawing three. It will be a tough task to bring that run to an end here.

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Team News

Zach Loyd remains the only injury concern for FC Dallas as he is out with concussion.

Colorado Rapids have three injury concerns ahead of the game as Dillon Serna is out, while Sean St. Ledger and Jermaine Jones are both doubts.

Key Points

FC Dallas’ last five: W/D/L/W/W

Colorado Rapids’ last five: W/D/D/L/L

Key Stat: FC Dallas on a staggering 21 game unbeaten run at home in MLS.

Key Player: Tim Howard – The last line of defence for Colorado has been impressive since he joined the team, if he can perform to his high standards he will give his side a great chance of getting a positive result.

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Score Prediction

FC Dallas 2-1 Colorado Rapids – Dallas to come out of this tie with three points. It has the makings of a close one but once again, given their home form and Colorado’s recent winless run on the road, a win for FC Dallas looks likely.

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MLS Preview and Prediction: Sporting Kansas City vs Colorado Rapids

Competition: Major League Soccer – Sporting Kansas City vs. Colorado Rapids

Venue: Sporting Park – Wednesday, April 13 – 20:30 ET (01:30 BST)

Match Odds: Sporting KC 5/6 – Draw 12/5 – Colorado 7/2

Match Preview

Sporting Kansas City welcome Colorado Rapids to Sporting Park in an all-Western Conference clash on Wednesday evening. 

SKC are leading the way in the Supporters’ Shield standings after their impressive start to the season which has seen them lose just the once. They take on FC Dallas this coming weekend and will be hoping to continue their run of form by taking maximum points in this double gameweek.

Peter Vermes’ side come into this one off the back of their solid 2-0 away win over New York Red Bulls on Saturday and will be brimming with confidence. SKC have been solid at the back so far this season and opponents have struggled to breach their defence.

Last season’s meeting at Sporting Park saw Sporting Kansas City’s suffer their first home loss to Colorado since 2002, ending a 15-game unbeaten streak against the Rapids.

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Colorado have had a solid start to the 2016 regular season and are sitting sixth, in a playoff spot, in the Western Conference as a result.

Pablo Mastroeni’s side have won two, drawn one and lost two of their five fixtures so far. They come into this one off the back of their 1-0 loss away at Real Salt Lake last time out and will be hoping to bounce back immediately.

The Rapids won two of the three meetings between these sides last season, but as previously mentioned they have historically struggled away against SKC. If Mastroeni’s side can take a win from this game it will go a long way to showing Rapids fans they are capable of putting their away struggles against SKC to an end.

Colorado’s next fixture sees them take on New York Red Bulls at home. Rapids fans will be optimistic about taking two positive results out of this double gameweek and continue building towards a push for the playoffs.

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Team News

Sporting Kansas City could be without up to five players through injury. Justin Mapp, Matt Besler, Brad Davis and Soni Mustivar are all expected to miss out, while Paulo Nagamura is a doubt.

Colorado Rapids are also expecting to be without five through injury. Sean St.Ledger, John Berner, Kevin Doyle, Jared Watts and Marlon Hairston are all out. Jermaine Jones is serving the final game of his ban he picked up in last season’s playoffs and so his debut is not too far away.

Key Points

Sporting Kansas City’s last five: W/W/W/L/W

Colorado Rapids’ last five: L/W/D/W/L

Key Stat: Sporting Kansas City and Colorado Rapids have the joint best defensive records so far this season, with both sides only conceding three goals in their five outings respectively.

Key Player: Dom Dwyer – The SKC forward has got off a strong scoring start this campaign, with three in five. He netted in his side’s win last weekend and will be looking to cause the Rapids trouble in this midweek clash.

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Score Prediction

Sporting Kansas City 2-1 Colorado Rapids – Despite Colorado ending their winless run away against SKC they are likely to struggle here considering how strong the home side have been at the start of this season. As the saying goes, old habits die hard.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Seattle Sounders vs LA Galaxy

Competition: Major League Soccer – Seattle Sounders vs. LA Galaxy  

Venue: CenturyLink Field – Sunday, October 4 – 21:30 ET (02:30 BST)

Match Odds: Seattle Sounders 1/1  – Draw 12/5 – LA Galaxy 5/2

Match Preview

Seattle Sounders entertain Western Conference rivals L.A Galaxy in a standout fixture this weekend in a game not to be missed.

Sounders sit 4th in the Western Conference, on 46 points, trailing leaders Galaxy by four points, and will want to take a positive result from this one to avoid any late slip-ups in the race for a playoff spot.

They come into this one off the back of their 1-1 draw away against Sporting Kansas City, and are unbeaten in their last five.

Sounders are yet to beat Galaxy this season and will hope that their recent form against their opponents at home, winning three of the last five at CenturyLink Field, will continue.

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LA Galaxy lead the Western Conference and the race for the Supporters’ Shield, so they have a lot to play for here.

They come into the game off the back of their 3-2 home win against FC Dallas, which ended their three game winless run.

Galaxy will hope their poor run of form away from home will not cost them in this tie, but know they face a tough task against Sounders forwards Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins.

LA’s big-game players need to step up once again this week if they are to take all three points here. Giovani Dos Santos, Robbie Keane and Steven Gerrard all scored last weekend and the three of them will be looking to cause problems for the Sounders defence.

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Team News

Seattle Sounders are expecting to be without Roman Torres, Andres Correa and Andy Craven. They have five players who are one away from suspension; Zach Scott, Andy Scott, Andy Rose, Gonzalo Pineda, Oneil Fisher and Brad Evans.

LA Galaxy have three injury concerns. Brian Perk remains out while Todd Dunivant and Baggio Husidic are doubts. They have no players nearing suspension.

Key Points

Seattle Sounders’ last five in MLS: W/W/D/W/D

LA Galaxy’s last five in MLS: W/L/L/W/W

Key Stat: LA Galaxy have failed to win 19 of their last 21 away matches in MLS.

Key Player: Obafemi Martins – The Sounders goal machine has netted 14 in 18 appearances this season and has eight in his last eight, as ever, we can expect him to be a nightmare for the opposition defenders.

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Score Prediction

Seattle Sounders 2-1 LA Galaxy – Sounders to edge this one and take advantage of a Galaxy side who have struggled on the road.

MLS Preview and Prediction: New York Red Bulls vs Chicago Fire

Competition: Major League Soccer – New York Red Bulls vs. Chicago Fire 

Venue: Red Bull Arena – Friday, September 11 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)

Match Odds: NY Red Bulls 4/9 – Draw 7/2 – Chicago Fire 11/2

Match Preview

New York Red Bulls host Chicago Fire in an all Eastern Conference tie this Friday night as they look to continue to pile the pressure on top side DC United.

Red Bulls come into the tie off the back of their 3-0 win over leaders DC United, which has put them in a really strong position at this stage of the season. They have three games in hand over DC and are just two points behind.

Jesse Marsch’s side will be feeling confident ahead of this one, but know no tie is an easy three points, but this is a great chance for them to continue pushing for top spot.

New York Red Bulls will be setting their sights on fighting all the way for the Supporters’ Shield. LA Galaxy are in the lead, four points ahead, but have played three games more. It is important for Marsch’s side to finish the season in the best form possible to give them every chance of winning the Supporters’ Shield, but also to ensure they are confident heading into the playoffs.

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Chicago Fire sit bottom of the Eastern Conference on 27 points and although making the playoffs seems unlikely they still have to believe anything is possible.

They come into the game off the back of their 4-3 loss to Montreal Impact, which has to be the most entertaining fixture of last weekend.

The Fire haven’t won on the road all season and it will be an extremely tough task to take all three points here. They can take confidence that they won the earlier meeting in the campaign between the sides, 3-2.

Fire fans will be hoping Kennedy Igboananike can reproduce the form he showed against Red Bulls in the 3-2 win, where he netted twice.

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Team News

New York Red Bulls only injury concern is to Chirs Duvall, who is expected to miss out. Connor Lade and Dax McCarty are both one booking away from suspension.

Chicago Fire have just the one injury concern too. Adailton is expected to be their only absentee. Matt Polster and Eric Gehrig are also both one caution away from suspension.

Key Points

New York Red Bulls’ last five in MLS: D/W/W/L/W

Chicago Fire’s last five in MLS: D/L/W/D/L

Key Stat: Travel sick – Chicago haven’t won a regular season game on the road all season, drawing five and losing eight.

Key Player: Bradley Wright-Phillips – The Red Bulls forward has hit form at the right time. He netted twice in his last outing and has now scored 13 goals in 25 regular season appearances this campaign.

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Score Prediction

New York Red Bulls 3-0 Chicago Fire – Red Bulls to prove too strong for the Eastern Conference’s bottom side and come away with all three points as expected.

Should San Jose Earthquakes fans be concerned by this worrying statistic?

San Jose Earthquakes have established themselves as the surprise package at the start of the 2015 MLS season with five wins from their opening 11 games (D2, L4) and can be delighted with their performances in the early stages.

The Earthquakes have already recorded some impressive results with victories at home to Vancouver Whitecaps and Columbus Crew, as well as an excellent 3-2 road win against Seattle Sounders, despite going down to ten men after 52 minutes.

Dominic Kinnear has returned to San Jose as the head coach this season after an eight-year spell with the Houston Dynamo, guiding them to fourth place in the Western Conference and sixth in the overall Supporters’ Shield standings with a total of 17 points.

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Despite the excellent start to the season, there may be a slight cause for concern for the Earthquakes. At the same stage of last season, they had 13 points on the board from 11 games, just four points less than their current total this time around.

San Jose then went on to finish bottom of the Western Conference and second bottom of the Supporters’ Shield standings with just 30 points amassed come the end of the campaign.

A barren run of 15 games without a win at the end of last season heavily affected the Earthquakes’ final position in the table, so Kinnear will be desperate to ensure that his side avoid a similar type of capitulation in 2015.

A playoff finish for San Jose Earthquakes would almost certainly be an impressive achievement and if they can maintain their current form, there is no reason why they won’t be competing for the MLS Cup title in the post-season.

2014 MLS Season Review: Seattle Sounders

Western Conference Final Position: 1st

Western Conference Playoffs: Final

Review

Seattle Sounders had a really strong regular season campaign, finishing with the highest points tally across both conferences. Although they couldn’t quite make it as far as they’d have liked in the playoffs, their overall performances cannot really to be questioned. Sealing the Supporters’ Shield gives them a great building block for the new season when even more will be expected of them.

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Best Moment

Beating their closest Western Conference competitors LA Galaxy in the battle for the Supporters’ Shield. The 2-0 result shows that even though the Sounders struggled to find their way to the playoff final, they still have what it takes to win trophies, having also lifted the U.S. Open Cup.

Worst Moment

Conceding the all-important goal of the playoff tie with LA. Seattle had done enough to qualify for the final after turning around the 1-0 first leg loss and will still be ruing their inability to see that second-leg through.

Player of the Year

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Clint Dempsey – the forward had the best strike rate for the Sounders this season and showed again what he can do in the big games. His impressive tally of 16, joined by Obafemi Martins‘ 17 shows what a great partnership they have together.

Biggest Win

Seattle Sounders 4-0 Real Salt Lake (May 31 2014)

Biggest Defeat

New England Revolution 5-0 Seattle Sounders (May 11 2014)

What to improve for the 2015 season…

There isn’t much that they need to improve for the next campaign, as they were so close to the near perfect season. They do however have to be able to shut teams out – a key example being the 4-4 draw with Portland Timbers. Having to chase games late on like this isn’t ideal for the best side across the conferences based on points total.

The only real disappointment of the season was the playoffs. With knockout football being the completely different style of game that it is, you can’t really have too many complaints with Seattle’s performance. On another day they may have been able to hold out for a place in the final, which they have to feel their season deserved.

MLSGB’s final MLS Goal of the Week for 2014 Season

The 2014 MLS regular season came to an end on Sunday night, after what has been another thrilling year of soccer.

Seattle Sounders clinched the MLS Supporters’ Shield with a 2-0 win over LA Galaxy, while Vancouver sealed the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with a 1-0 win at home to the Colorado Rapids.

The playoffs await now, as the drama looks set to continue right up to the MLS Cup on December 7.

Our final Goal of the Week award goes to the man who equalled the MLS single season goalscoring record with this strike in the final game of the season – Bradley Wright-Phillips.

The Red Bulls striker got his 27th of the season thanks to a brace against Sporting Kansas City, and although he couldn’t break the record, he tied it with this fine individual goal that sums up his tireless work rate:

Wright-Phillips won the Golden Boot for his achievements this year, but his Red Bull teammates must now prepare to host Kansas City in the Eastern Conference knockout round game on Thursday night.

Player ratings: Seattle Sounders 2-0 LA Galaxy

Seattle Sounders clinched their first ever Supporters’ Shield with a gutsy 2-0 victory over Western Conference rivals LA Galaxy at CenturyLink Field.

They battled through a fiery opening 30 minutes, with possession largely dominated by the Galaxy.

Pure grit, determination and passion got them through those early stages and their tactics were spot on as a frustrated LA couldn’t find a way through.

When chances came their way late on, they made the most of it and in the end they probably deserved the victory.

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[Seattle Sounders had already tasted glory this season when they won the 2014 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup]

Seattle Sounders:

  • Stefan Frei (Goalkeeper) – 7/10 – Despite LA’s early dominance of possession, they didn’t create much which left Frei with little to do. The one occasion he was called upon came when Landon Donovan tried to latch on to a through ball but Frei did well to close the angle down and leave Donovan with no time to think.
  • DeAndre Yedlin (Defender) – 7/10 – He was reliable and solid for the most part but did look susceptible at times on the outside flank. His work-rate was excellent.
  • Chad Marshall (Defender) – 8/10 – He was influential at the back and was the glue that kept the Sounders unit tied together. He won everything in the air and was tidy on the ground with great passing accuracy. (80% according to whoscored.com)
  • Zach Scott (Defender) – 7/10 – A faultless performance at the heart of defence. His partnership with Marshall played a crucial role in keeping a clean sheet.
  • Leonardo Gonzalez (Defender) – 7/10 – The Sounders full-backs had to be alert and aware of the threat LA posed from out wide as they looked to expose the flanks but Gonzalez was more than wise to those kind of tactics.
  • Brad Evans (Midfielder) – 6/10 – You can’t be too critical of the Sounders defence as they stuck to their task so well but his poor passing accuracy of 56% (according to whoscored.com) makes it hard to award higher than a 6.
  • Osvaldo Alonso (Midfielder) – 8/10 – He was instrumental in the execution of the game plan. He was consistently good with his passing throughout and wasn’t wasteful in possession in the same way that some of the Sounders players were.
  • Gonzalo Pineda (Midfielder) – 7/10 – He played with aggression, fight and determination. He was perhaps guilty of letting it spiral out of control at times but he was a terrier in the middle of the park and consistently hounded the Galaxy midfield when they were in possession.
  • Lamar Neagle (Midfielder) – 6/10 – He stuck to his defensive duties well but struggled to find teammates with his passing, particularly in the first half.
  • Clint Dempsey (Forward) – 7/10 – He wouldn’t let the LA defence relax and he was a nuisance to deal with in the second half.
  • Obafemi Martins (Forward) – 8/10 – He’s hunting down the MVP award and he certainly didn’t harm his chances here. He was strong and confident and played the crucial killer pass in to Marco Pappa for the first goal that took all the wind out of LA Galaxy’s sails.
  • Marco Pappa (Forward) – 9/10 – Man of the match and he was only on the pitch for 20 minutes. He made the difference with a composed finish for the first goal. And with seconds remaining on the clock, his never say die attitude saw him hound the Galaxy ‘keeper, Jaime Penedo, steal the ball and scoop it into the net for the second.
  • Djimi Traore (Defender) – 6/10 – He was on the pitch for all of 30 seconds so had no chance of making an impact.

LA Galaxy:

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  • Jaime Penedo (Goalkeeper) – 5/10 – He made a shocking error for the second goal. He didn’t have a terrible game beforehand but allowing an opposing player to dispossess you when you play in goal is unacceptable. He certainly won’t want to see it again.
  • Dan Gargan (Defender) – 6/10 – He linked up well with the Galaxy midfield but his positioning was questionable for the first goal and he’ll be disappointed that he wasn’t able to do more in order to prevent Marco Pappa.
  • Leonardo (Defender) – 6/10 – The Galaxy back line had relatively little to do throughout this game in terms of defensive work, so to concede two goals is disappointing for the centre-backs.
  • A. J. DeLaGarza (Defender) – 6/10 – He will be disappointed with how open they left themselves for the first goal with the game so delicately poised at 0-0.
  • Robbie Rogers (Defender) – 7/10 – One of the better performers on the day for LA Galaxy. He put in a real shift but to no avail.
  • Baggio Husidic (Midfielder) – 6/10 – He was reliable on the ball but struggled to make an impact from the wide areas.
  • Juninho (Midfielder) – 7/10 – The midfield maestro was strong in possession and shifted the ball about nicely but it wasn’t enough to carve an opening through the solid Sounders defence.
  • Marcelo Sarvas (Midfielder) – 7/10 – He battled well and his passing was brilliant. He didn’t shy away from challenges and provided great support for fellow midfielder, Juninho.
  • Stefan Ishizaki (Midfielder) – 6/10 – LA would have hoped for more from the Swede. His passing was disappointing for a position normally associated with accuracy. (70% accuracy according to whoscored.com)
  • Gyasi Zardes (Forward) – 6/10 – He made good runs in behind and worked tirelessly to create an opening but it wasn’t a good day to be playing up front for LA Galaxy with such limited opportunities.
  • Landon Donovan (Forward) – 6/10 – The club legend almost appeared to be trying too hard to make something happen for his side. You can’t fault his work-rate and effort, but it just didn’t come off for him in his final regular season game.
  • Alan Gordon (Forward) – 5/10 – LA Galaxy’s best chance of the game fell to his feet late on but it’s fair to say that he somewhat fluffed his lines.
  • Jose Villarreal (Forward) – 6/10 – He only entered the field of play for the last few minutes of the game so he couldn’t impose himself on the game.

Attentions will now turn to the playoffs for these two sides and there is a strong possibility that they could meet each other again in the Western Conference finals.

Which team will go further in the MLS Playoffs, Seattle Sounders or LA Galaxy?

Preview and Prediction: Seattle Sounders vs LA Galaxy

Seattle Sounders and LA Galaxy will go head-to-head in arguably the most crucial game of the season at CenturyLink Field on Saturday as both teams fight to become the Supporters’ Shield winners.

Soccer games do not come bigger than this as these two Western Conference sides are the only teams that can now win the Supporters’ Shield title.

The formula is simple – LA Galaxy absolutely have to win the game in order to clinch it, whereas a draw would be enough for Seattle due to their superior ‘games won’ tally giving the Sounders the most slightest of advantages going in to it.

As it stands going in to the final game:

AS IT STANDS

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Seattle Sounders come in to this game on the back of an inconsistent run of form with just two wins from their last six games so they will need to try and give it one final push to ensure they don’t fall at the final hurdle.

They have failed to beat LA Galaxy in their last six regular season meetings, so they will be relieved that they aren’t the team that has to win this game – their last win against the Galaxy was a resounding 4-0 success back in August 2012.

Seattle Sounders home form: Played 16 – Won 11 – Drawn 1 – Lost 4

Before a narrow defeat to FC Dallas and a thrilling draw with Seattle, LA Galaxy have been almost unstoppable, winning eight of the previous ten games and they’ve lost just three in their last 25 matches – an impressive record.

They were on the verge of a priceless victory on Sunday night when they led Seattle 2-0, so they will be devastated that they threw the game away but they have it in them to recover quickly and go again.

Inconsistency away from home would be the only concern for LA as five of their six defeats this season have come in games away from the StubHub Center.

Having said that, they convincingly brushed Seattle aside the last time they visited CenturyLink field in July and ran out 3-0 winners, so they will be hoping for a repeat performance.

Should LA Galaxy be victorious, they will become the most successful side in the history of the Supporters’ Shield with five titles – they are currently tied with DC United on four.

LA Galaxy’s away form: Played 16 – Won 5 – Drawn 6 – Lost 5

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It’s the biggest game of the regular season, it promises to be exciting and it’s unlikely to disappoint.

We can’t wait to see it all unfold.

Key Player: Obafemi Martins – The Nigerian is in the running for the MVP award for his efforts this season and if he performs to the best of his ability, he could drag Seattle over the finish line.

Key Stat: LA Galaxy have both the best attack (69 scored) and best defence in the league (35 conceded) so they will be hoping that counts for something come the end of the season. 

Seattle Sounders last five: L/W/W/L/D

LA Galaxy’s last five: W/W/W/L/D

Prediction: Seattle Sounders 1 – 2 LA Galaxy

Preview and Prediction: Real Salt Lake vs Chivas USA

Real Salt Lake will play their last game of the regular season when they take on Chivas USA in a Western Conference clash at the Rio Tinto Stadium tonight.

Chivas will have one more game after this one when they host fellow strugglers San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday.

The home side will be keen to pick up all three points in their last outing in order to give themselves a chance of finishing in the top three and will therefore avoid the 4th vs. 5th playoff encounter.

They need to do their job here and hope that FC Dallas fail to win against Portland Timbers at the weekend as anything other than a victory means they will face either Vancouver Whitecaps or Portland Timbers in the wildcard game.

Real Salt Lake are unbeaten in their last nine home games, picking up seven wins and two draws, so recent history and standings would suggest they are heavy favourites to win this one.

Real Salt Lake’s home form: Played 16 – Won 10 – Drawn 5 – Lost 1

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[Key Player: Javier Morales, Real Salt Lake]

Chivas USA have had yet another season to forget as they prop up the Western Conference table alongside San Jose Earthquakes.

From their 32 games played this season, they have managed just 28 goals and also shipped 59 at the other end giving them the worst attack and the worst defence in the league.

They have managed to win their last two games though, one of which was a 1-0 success over their opponents in this fixture on 5th October – they also beat Real Salt Lake 1-0 on 29th June, so there is reason to be optimistic.

Before those last two victories, they had been on a 12-game winless streak which saw them pick up just one point in a goalless draw with Vancouver and slump to 11 defeats.

Chivas USA’s away form: Played 16 – Won 3 – Drawn 4 – Lost 9

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[Erick Torres has been the one bright spark for Chivas USA this season with 15 goals]

Key Player: Javier Morales – the Argentinian playmaker has had a good season for Real Salt Lake with 9 goals and 11 assists so we can expect him to be at the heart of things once again.

Key Stat: Chivas USA have only kept one clean sheet away from home this season, so you’d expect Real Salt Lake to grab at least one goal.

Real Salt Lake’s last five: W/L/L/W/D

Chivas USA’s last five: L/L/L/W/W

Prediction: Real Salt Lake 2 – 0 Chivas USA