Back in May, the Portland Timbers easily defeated Chivas USA 3-0 at Jeld-Wen Field. Since then, Chivas have fired El Chelís and added Carlos Bocanegra and Erick Torres. To get an update on the changes at Chivas since the two teams last played, we got in touch with SB Nation's Chivas USA blog, The Goat Parade. Matt Hoffman answers a few questions to give us an idea of what to expect on Saturday night at the StubHub Center.
Erick Torres has been on a scoring tear since late August and Chivas USA have gotten results in three of its past four games. Is Torres' success as related to the team's fortunes as it seems from the outside?
Yes, absolutely. Erick "Cubo" Torres is the machine that drives Chivas USA. His form has been phenomenal. His play has really flipped the narrative on what has been an abysmally, bad, terrible, yucky, super ungood 2013 season.
Prior to his arrival, Chivas were mired in a fourteen-game winless streak--the longest such streak to be contained in a single MLS season. Cubo scored the game winner in his debut and has gone on to score six more goals in the last eight contests.
The downside is that Torres is one of eight Chivas USA players on loan from the mothership, i.e. Chivas Guadalajara. We know with Chivas USA anything is possible, but I would be very, very surprised if Torres returns to Chivas USA in 2014.
Carlos Bocanegra moved to Chivas on July 1 with much fanfare. How has he impacted the team and how good is he compared with other MLS defenders?
Every bit as good as Torres, Bocanegra has been just as important for the backline. Probably the best summation of his performance is that in the games he's played Chivas have scored nine goals and given up ten for a goal differential of -1. That's not entirely remarkable until you consider the team is -20 (18/38) without him.
The defense itself isn't that great. Bocanegra has taken it upon himself to be the fireman. Last week, DC United's Nick DeLeon had acres of space on the right, Bocanegra blocked the cross preventing Conor Doyle from a would-be goal. That's just a normal day at office for him.
Boca is up there in years and there a lot of mileage in those legs but I think he comes ahead of most MLS defenders. He doesn't have the pace that some of the younger fullbacks have. But he's good on the ball and he's got the mental part of the game down. I'd say he'd hold his own. Good question!
Who is injured or suspended ahead of this game that would affect Chivas' chances against Portland?
Bocanegra's playing hurt. He got stepped on in the match against the Vancouver Whitecaps two weeks ago. He tore something in his foot and his adjustment has led to a heel contusion. You'll see him grimace from time to time.
Former Timber Steve Purdy, he's questionable with a right hamstring sprain. If he needs a defender, Coach Jose Luis Real turns to Purdy so we may how well Purdy is progressing there. Jorge Villafana is out with a toe fracture. No suspensions, but midfielder Carlos Borja and centerback Mario de Luna each are in danger of suspension due to yellow card accumulation.
Bonus - Predicted starting XI
Kennedy (c), Borja, Burling, Bocanegra, Delgado, Alvarez, Minda, Meija, de la Fuente, Morales, Torres in 4-4-2 holding.