Lawsuits have been filed. Coaches have been fired. First teamers have been waived and dropped. A US international has been signed. This is the Chivas USA of 2013. A vast majority of the team’s backroom drama has dropped in the past month, leaving most of the Goat’s MLS opponents still wondering what to expect on the pitch for Chivas. FC Dallas is yet another side wondering what exactly they will face on the pitch tonight in Frisco.
Preparations for this match, despite the confusion in Southern California, shouldn’t change much for Schellas Hyndman. An unbeaten MLS home record seems to indicate all is well in Frisco. Portland, Kansas City, Houston, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake are a sample of the quality sides that have failed to beat FCD at home. Lowly Chivas USA should be more of the same.
Yet now, unlike the rest of the 2013 season, FCD now has to contend with an injury bug. Zach Loyd, George John, and Eric Hassli are listed as questionable for tonight’s Independence Day match. Walker Zimmerman has filled the John’s void well, even netting twice in the past two weeks, and is the likely option at center-half aside Matt Hedges.
The real issue is at right back. Zach Loyd’s absence will more than likely force Michel to the back line. However, could Hyndman give London Woodberry an unexpected run of minutes at right back instead? It doesn’t seem that unlikely, given Chivas road record and overall lack of stability on and off the pitch. That adjustment would at least allow Michel to stay in the center midfield alongside Andrew Jacobson.
Another mitigating factor is Ferreira’s sabbatical. He was rested in the past week, and rightfully so, given the constant fouls (honestly, no one’s ankles in MLS have more stud marks) and constant 90 minute stints, Ferreira’s 34 year old body probably needs an extended break.
Lineup riddles aside, there is a groundswell of confidence exuding from the squad. It’s a home match. It’s the Fourth of July. It’ll be a sellout in Frisco. Most importantly, the team is still riding high after a dramatic last-kick comeback in Philadelphia this past weekend. Momentum, despite being knocked out of the Open Cup last Wednesday, has swung back immediately for the team.