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3 Questions with the Goat Parade

Asking opposing SB Nation blogs the small, medium, and large questions to find out what the next opponent is all about.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Chivas USA is going through that special stage in life where everything is changing, the opposite sex is terrifying, and adulthood is lurking right around the corner. The second SoCal team is finally up for new ownership after several years of poor stewardship. More information about the team's next stage may be imminent, but in the meantime, the goats are vulnerable to yet another FC Dallas thrashing. FCD travels to LA to face a team that won 4 straight games then lost the next two games 6-1.

Big D Soccer reached out to Alicia at the Goat Parade to exchange a brief Q&A:

BDS-1. Chivas USA has the fewest shots on goal in the league with 62. Cubo Torres leads the team with 14 goals, but after him, Marvin Chavez has 2 goals and 5 other players each have one. Who can spark the offense besides Torres to give this team a chance at the playoffs?

TGP) We're still waiting to find out, honestly. Although Mauro Rosales has been good in bursts in setting up his teammates, and Chavez had one very good game, the reality is that it does not appear that there is any outstanding candidate able to score frequently alongside Torres on this roster. In many respects, that's not surprising, as this team has arguably never had a forward of the quality of Cubo, and were particularly poor the past several years. If anything, the team has been mismanaged to the point that Cubo turning out to be so good is more remarkable than that there's little scoring support around him.

But, if we set all that aside, the most likely candidates to grab a goal besides Cubo (who is the overwhelming favorite to score on this team, let's be honest) are Chavez, Rosales (who hasn't scored but should be due to grab one by this point), and winger/forward Leandro Barrera. But really, the best bet is to give Cubo the ball and see what he can do.

BDS-2. As probably not the last person to ask this: is there any news about Chivas USA ownership? Do you expect MLS to make an announcement at the ASG as has been frequently rumored?

TGP) No news, no new substantive rumors that I've heard, either. That could mean three things: everything is in place and it's a matter of time until the new owner is revealed, the league is keeping a very tight lid on proceedings with potential owners, or there's no movement and the quest to find a new owner is hitting considerable snags. I'm inclined to believe it's likely the first or second scenarios, but only time will tell.

As for the second question, while I think it's possible the league unveils a new owner(s) and rebrand next week during the All-Star Game festivities in Portland, it also makes a certain amount of sense to wait until the offseason to release the news as well (and this is all assuming the next owner is in place, of course). While I and most CUSA fans don't want to have to wait until this lame duck year is over before finding out the future direction of the team, I am not as confident as others that it's happening next week.

BDS-3. What is your opinion on Wilmer Cabrera's ability developing the youth at his disposal? Here at FCD, we are seeing our younger players flourish when given opportunities. Since Oscar Pareja and Cabrera worked achieved success with a young team in Colorado, are you seeing your coach similarly leverage the Southern California hotbed?

TGP) I think the jury's still out on that count. Cabrera's stockpiling a heap of players he's worked with in the past, most of whom are young, but he's more or less trying to get this team at some level of consistency before really giving lots of minutes to most youngsters. Behind the scenes, I don't know, maybe he's doing great things with the younger players, something that could pay off in years, but the highlights among the players seeing time on the field (besides Cubo, who's in a different class altogether) is Marky Delgado, a Homegrown player who saw a lot of action last year, but to my surprise has elevated his game and appears to have Cabrera's absolute respect this year, and is playing a lot, and defender Donny Toia, who seemed like he would be depth, at best, but Cabrera has come to rely on him to play both fullback spots over the past few months. And guys like Eriq Zavaleta, on loan from Seattle, are also getting minutes when the starters are out.

The big question beyond the actual existential future of the club is how aggressive this team will be with signing Homegrown talent over the next few years. They've totally cratered out on their draft picks (beyond a few late rounders) for the next two years, and there was a huge exodus of Academy players who jumped over to the LA Galaxy about a year ago. Many of those players would probably make good HG signing candidates, and one, Bradford Jamieson, has already signed a pro deal with the Galaxy. There is still talent in the older ranks of Chivas USA's youth system, but the question is whether they are truly Homegrown-worthy candidates, and whether they can make the jump up to MLS. We'll have to see on that front.

Expected lineup and score.

GK: Dan Kennedy

D: Donny Toia, Eriq Zavaleta, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Tony Lochhead
M: Mauro Rosales, Oswaldo Minda, Agustin Pelletieri, Marky Delgado
F: Erick Torres, Leandro Barrera

Score: I'm going to go with a fluky 1-0 Chivas USA win, to knot up the season series.

My answers to their questions:

TGP-1. FC Dallas seem like they've found a gem in rookie Tesho Akindele. Tell us about him, and how he's been doing lately.

BDS) Before the draft, we didn't have a real clear indication of who FC Dallas was going to go after. A new coach and new president, we didn't have a track record either. FCD traded up in the draft order to snag Tesho, a product of Division II Colorado School of Mines. We had to believe this random selection must be based on Oscar's experience in Colorado near Tesho's school. We were perplexed, but we were all still on such an Oscar Pareja high having only hired him the week before that we didn't care. The mantra was, "in OP we trust."

Oscar had great success with a young team in only 2 seasons in Colorado, and he is largely responsible for the success the FCD Academy has had before that departure to the rocky mountains. We hoped that OP's proximity to Tesho in Colorado meant he knew something about the striker that we didn't. It looks like he did based on performance. Tesho has really started clicking with Blas Perez. Both players are performing better than when either has been on the field alone. Last season, Hyndman tried really hard to make a Cooper/Perez tandem work in a 442. It never came together, so we are excited in North Texas to see Blas flying alongside a youngster with a bright future. Tesho's mind works fast; he is mature for his age. He makes good runs and provides enough support to Blas to pull defenders away while still being dangerous under pressure. He'll be a definite threat this weekend.

TGP-2. Dallas are unbeaten in their last six league matches. What's been the secret(s) to the recent run?

BDS) Chemistry and biology. Chemistry because Tesh and Blas are clicking; Escobar and Castillo are clicking; Zach Loyd, after a bit of a slump, is regaining form that made him a fan favorite at FC Dallas; and our Homegrown Players in midfield and defense are putting on good performances, fitting in with a team that they could only hope to play with in seasons past. I say biology because a couple of players are finally returning from injury. The big news being that Mauro Diaz is back in action, having recovered from that knee injury in the spring. Also getting close to 100% again are Michel, Jair Benitez, and Matt Hedges.

For a season long breakdown, Steve Hunt at the Dallas Morning News put together an interesting chart listing just how many games have been missed (hint: it's a lot!).

http://soccerblog.dallasnews.com/2014/07/fc-dallas-injury-breakdown.html/

TGP-3. Last year, Oscar Pareja's Colorado team dealt with massive injuries, but still rose above it to make the playoffs with a very young group of players. This year, Dallas is dealing with a plethora of injuries under Pareja, and still coming out of it pretty well. Do you think the injury issues are a coincidence, or is there something to Pareja's methods that are leading to so many players going down?

BDS) I don't think Pareja has anything to do with it. Injuries were a massive concern for FC Dallas in 2 of the past 3 seasons while he wasn't even in Texas. If you take a look at the chart that DMN put together at the link in my second answer, you can see the multitude of injuries and try to discern a pattern. I am not in any way knowledgeable to say if there is anything that FCD should be doing differently. This may be a string of bad luck; however, it seems to have become a recurring theme with real consequences on the field. I think FC Dallas has to take some sort of action. Maybe FCD needs to review and invest more in the physical training department. The team has a strong connection with the Michael Johnson Performance Center in Dallas; they may already be on the right track.

4. (Bonus) Prediction for this match?

I think FC Dallas will be motivated to break the road winless streak after Western competition earned a whopping 1 point in 3 games midweek. I'm going to guess a 3-1 win to FCD. Cubo scores the lone Chivas goal.

Raul Fernandez, Moises Hernandez, Matt Hedges, Stephen Keel, Zach Loyd, Victor Ulloa, Fabian Castillo, Mauro Diaz, JeVaughn Watson, Blas Perez, Tesho Akindele

What do you think I got right or wrong? Sound off in the comments below. Thanks for reading.