Real Salt Lake-Chivas USA Preview
After MLS took steps to quash speculation about a potential move, Chivas USA will turn its focus toward ending another lengthy winless stretch.
Given the recent results in the series, a visit from Real Salt Lake could make that a difficult task.
RSL will try to bounce back from the end to a brief win streak by continuing its recent dominance over Chivas on Sunday night.
There's been rumors that Chivas could be bought out by the league, but MLS issued a statement Friday that said, "Such speculation is completely unfounded and untrue. MLS is fully supportive of the current owners of Chivas USA and has never considered taking over the club or moving it."
Chivas (3-5-2) has finished no better than eighth in the Western Conference in each of the last three seasons and endured a franchise-worst 0-10-4 winless streak to finish off its last-place showing in 2012. After a 3-1-1 start to this season, the club finds itself once again in the cellar due to a 0-4-1 skid.
Chivas has hardly been competitive in its last two games, getting outscored 7-0, with Portland winning 3-0 last Sunday.
"My team is running. My team is fighting. My team is giving the effort," said Chivas coach Jose Luis Sanchez Sola, who is known as Chelis. "It's just not enough."
Real Salt Lake (5-5-2) will try to take advantage of those struggles and earn its third victory in four games. RSL has won a series-best three in a row over Chivas - including a 1-0 home victory April 20 - and is 7-1-1 in the series since Aug. 25, 2009.
Salt Lake has outscored Chivas 17-3 in the last nine meetings and recorded shutouts in each of the last three.
RSL has found its scoring touch lately with two goals in each of its last three games, but it gave up a season-high three in last Saturday's loss to Montreal. The Impact registered the go-ahead goal in stoppage time.
"I think it's important that not only are the strikers scoring, but we're getting some from the midfield here and there," forward Robbie Findley said. "I think we're heading in the right direction. If we can continue to create opportunities and score some goals, we'll be all right."
RSL might get a boost in its attempt to rebound from that defeat. Findley, Alvaro Saborio, Nat Borchers and Cole Grossman all returned to practice this week, and coach Jason Kreis said he's optimistic all four could be available Sunday.
Saborio had a hat trick in Salt Lake's most recent visit to Chivas, a 4-0 rout Sept. 29. RSL has outscored Chivas 10-1 in winning the last four road games in the series, and has posted shutouts in each of the last three.
Salt Lake won't have defender Kwame Watson-Siriboe available because of a league suspension. Chivas midfielders Carlos Alvarez and Mario de Luna are also sitting out due to suspensions.