KEYS TO THE GAME
Philadelphia Union (3-7-1, 10 points; T-7th place in East) vs. Chivas USA (3-9-1, 10 points; 8th place in West), at Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif.
All Time Record: This is the first meeting for these two sides.
10:30 pm ET; Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Sports en Español
What’s at Stake?
Chivas USA and Philadelphia each sit at the bottom of their respective conferences with just 10 points apiece so far this season. A win for either on Saturday would go a long way in helping pull the team out of the basement. The Goats are currently mired in a club-record six-game losing streak and will want to avoid a seventh straight loss.
This is the first time in MLS history that Chivas USA will face Philadelphia Union.
…the Philadelphia Union selected Chivas USA defender Shavar Thomas in the 2009 MLS Expansion Draft on November 25 of last year? The Jamaican international had been an important part of the Red-and-White backline, helping the club to a league-best thirteen shutouts and a goals-against tally of just 31 – good for second-best in all of MLS.
Heroes & Villains
Fred vs. Marcelo Saragosa: The midfield on Saturday night will be a Brazilian battlefield, with Saragosa and Fred both looking to take control of the tempo for their respective side. Fred poses a potent offensive threat for the Union, but Saragosa is well-trained in the so-called “Makelele role” and should provide consistent defensive harassment to his counterpart.
Jonathan Bornstein vs. Danny Mwanga: Saturday will likely be Bornstein’s first game back after returning home from the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and he’ll be itching to get back into the swing of things. Mwanga has been on a tear this year, scoring 4 goals in just 8 appearances and will test Bornstein with his pace and power. Bornstein has faced far worse in the past three weeks in Wayne Rooney and Asamoah Gyan, but Mwanga is no slouch and will try to take advantage of any latent fatigue in Bornstein’s legs.
Stat that makes you go “Hm…”
Chivas USA have never lost their first game against a new expansion franchise. The Goats earned wins against Real Salt Lake (2005), Toronto FC (2007), the rebooted San Jose Earthquakes (2008) and Seattle (2009), and drew with Houston (2006). With Philadelphia currently boasting a league-worst seven road losses, the Red-and-White will certainly feel that it’s within their reach to maintain this statistic.
He Said It
“The win [on Tuesday] in the Open Cup is great, but we have a big hole to climb out of in MLS play. If we can continue this form on Saturday, score some goals and be able to defend well, I think we’ll be able to get out of this sooner than later.” — Chukwudi Chijindu