A great win to round off the Gold Cup group stage puts us in a commanding position to tackle tonight’s MLS. On the weekend we’ll have the knockout stages of the Gold Cup as the competition returns.
Chivas USA vs. Toronto – (3.30am)
Chivas USA will receive a triple boost this evening, as Mexican international Julio Morales will return to the club. More importantly, the recent signing Carlos Bocanegra is definitely now eligible this evening and has been with the squad since Thursday. He is expected to be in the squad this evening, as is new signing, 20 year old Erick Torres. Torres has played under ‘Guero’ before, and once scored 14 goals as a 17 year old playing in Liga MX. Chivas are much, much improved since the arrival of Jose Luis Real, having taken road draws from Montreal, FC Dallas and a 1-1 against New England. The club still have not won for 14 matches, and albeit for some horrible refereeing Friday that cost a goal and then led to a red card, I think Chivas would be leaving with another draw at least, so I’m going to stick with them here. Toronto have an 8-2-1 record against Chivas, being outscored 12-1 and going winless in their 5 games here against Chivas. The last two seasons, and equally hapless Chivas have managed to dispose of Toronto by a 3-0 score on this pitch. Toronto will supposedly be boosted by the return of Osorio, Morgan and Bekker – although it’s questionable whether or not there’s going to be a Gold Cup hangover – whilst Doneil Henry returns to an awaiting suspension. Recent going on at the clubs may only further unsettle the reds though, as O’Dea’s surprise transfer, Califf’s retirement and Luis Silva’s transfer to DC United have further confused the fans and players of TFC. Reggie Lambe will also be suspended for this game after a red card in last week’s 3-0 defeat in Kansas. Despite the fact Chivas are winless in 14 games; I think these are two squads heading in very different directions during the second half of the MLS season.
Colorado Rapids vs. New England – (2.00am)
Despite at least one visit a season, New England has not won in the state of Colorado since 2001. In that time they’ve received multiple 3-0 (and worse) hammerings, and they’ve demonstrated a lack of ability to deal with the altitude. New England will be playing more than a full 5,000ft above their home ground altitude, and it’s a problem a lot of MLS clubs fail to deal with. Looking at their last 10 visits to Colorado and Real Salt Lake (2nd highest altitude in MLS at 4436ft) combined, the Revs are winless and have conceded 29 goals at this altitude, including 3-0’s in Colorado, and a 5-0 and a 6-0 in Salt Lake. Despite not being the best of away sides anyway, that does seem a clear extreme. The Rapids have an improvingly fit squad, and were boosted by goalkeeper Matt Pickens playing 90 minutes against Santos in midweek. The game was a very average pace with lots of rotation however, and the Rapids have had a nice 10 day break from MLS action. The Revs are playing their second game in 5 days. The Revs have only won 3 of their last 22 MLS road games and have missed the injection of quality Juan Agudelo has provided ever since his arrival. Even stretching past their winless streak going back to 2001, the Revs are still only 3-12-4 in Colorado in their MLS history. The Rapids have been absolutely dominating possession against sides coming here, and they’ve managed to keep a clean sheet in all of their last 8 wins on this ground – which certainly demonstrates their organisation.
Chivas USA win @ 2.45 with Coral
Colorado Rapids win @ 1.85 with Pinnacle