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Marquee Matchups: Licking Their Wounds

Chivas have no hope of beating an angry Seattle team.


There has been no shortage of soccer this week. With the Seattle Sounders and the LA Galaxy bowing out early from the US Open Cup, their focus on league form will be renewed.

Montreal Impact vs. Sporting Kansas City // 7:30 p.m. CDT, Sporting Park, MLS Live

All other storylines aside, this is the biggest match this weekend.

Montreal will still be buzzing about their big Voyager's Cup win, and with a squad full of confidence, they fly down to our nation's heartland to take on a quite popular Sporting Kansas City team. Montreal might be a bit tired, having played a few more games than their American opponents in the past month, but it won't be enough to make a serious dent in their fitness just yet. Their team is older than average, but the Impact have risen to the occasion with commendable vigor in each of their big games. There's no reason to believe they will roll over and give up.

Sporting have a bit of an issue on their hands because, unlike Montreal, two key cogs in the KC machine are missing due to international callups. Both Matt Besler and Graham Zusi will be out of contention, which will weaken SKC considerably. Despite their resounding win in the US Open Cup on Tuesday, Montreal is a different beast. What Peter Vermes will do to keep his group well-oiled and running smoothly is yet to be seen, but I don't see anything separating these two sides on Saturday. It will likely be a draw.

Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Earthquakes // 8:30 p.m. CDT, Rio Tinto Stadium, MLS Live

Real Salt Lake has enjoyed some pretty solid success so far this season, albeit the success has come at irregular intervals. Losing to a makeshift LA squad and to the rather poor Chicago Fire won't inspire much confidence, but that's ignoring their otherwise decent results that include wins against New England and Vancouver. They got scored on twice by the Atlanta Silverbacks, so they'll have to hope they can keep a revived Earthquakes at bay.

The Quakes have had a pretty poor season so far, but lately they have shown signs of revitalization, particularly last week against FC Dallas. FCD spent the last fifteen minutes desperately trying to keep out a fast and physical attack, and was only assured a win by their Peruvian Powerhouse, Fernandez. With defense never having been the Quakes' specialty, and with all of their strength coming in the scoring department (at least when they're on form), this has the potential to be a high scoring game.

The Quakes are frustrated and are itching to knock someone (anyone) off whatever perch they're on. This could lead to seeing more cards for them than usual. Couple their potential disciplinary issues with the fact that RSL has been somewhat inconsistent, and I have no clue how this one will go. The boys from Sandy, Utah have yet to seriously challenge the top dogs this season, and have only regularly defeated the weaker teams in MLS. Can they knock off the Quakes to get three points at home?

Chivas USA vs. Seattle Sounders // 9:30 p.m. CDT, Home Depot Center, MLS Live

You want to see a clash between teams in dire straits?

All the self-congratulatory back pats the fans gave themselves quickly turned sour after this past Sunday. The Sounders endured what is possibly their worst half in team history (4-0 at the half against LA) and then proceeded to crash out of the US Open Cup. Having been defeated by the 1-0 by the Tampa Bay Rowdies isn't the most embarrassing thing in the world, as the Rowdies are a very good team, but for a group that prides itself on its US Open Cup pedigree, it stings rather a lot.

Of course, it could always be worse for the Sounders.

They could be Chivas USA.

Chivas have been sued by two former youth coaches who claim that ownership discriminated against them for not being Mexican or Hispanic enough, and if their allegations are even partially true, the fellows who called those shots are in enough hot water to cook themselves in.

As if being sued for racism isn't bad enough, the owners have just fired José Luis Sánchez Solá, El Chelís. One can argue all they like about his tactics, lack thereof, complacency or what have you, but the fact remains that the players loved this man. He inspired a ragtag group of mostly below-average players to give their all in every match they were in. It backfired fairly regularly, but with their current system not working, removing their only motivating factor seems to be something that can only end badly.

Chivas USA management are claiming that Chelís was fired for his lack of decorum. While that accusation has merit, it doesn't remove the fact that Chelís was a major part of Chivas USA this season. Trying to play with the intensity and cohesion required when playing the Sounders will be too difficult for this bunch.