Chivas USA Preview

Fire look to end season on a positive note


The Basics

Chivas USA (8-17-4, 28 points, eighth place in Western Conference) vs. Chicago Fire (8-12-9, 33 points, fourth in Eastern Conference) at the the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.

TV Info

10 pm ET, Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Sports en Español.

Game Intro

There will be several goodbyes to Major League Soccer on Saturday evening as Chivas USA and the Chicago Fire face off in both clubs' final game of the 2010 season.

McBride, who turned 38 this year, is hanging up his boots after a 16-year career that included 12 seasons in MLS. Chicago mainstay C.J. Brown also announced Thursday that the Chivas USA match will be his last after playing every season with the club since its 1998 inception.

Bornstein, meanwhile, is on the way to Mexican First Division side Tigres UANL after agreeing to a contract this summer. Both will look to end their tenure in American soccer on a high note as the Fire and the Goats play for pride in Carson.

Chivas USA

The Red-and-White are coming off a 3-0 midweek loss to San Jose, their first-ever defeat to the new incarnation of the Earthquakes, and will need to quickly rebound of they are to have any shot of a victory on Saturday.

Chivas have struggled to find their best form lately, losing five of the last six games, and will look to turn things around on Saturday in hopes of sparking a little momentum for the 2011 season.

Making things difficult on head coach Martín Vásquez are injuries to center backsMichael Umana and Yamith Cuesta. Both went down during the San Jose match and their absences will likely mean the deployment of a patchwork defensive corps against the Fire.

On the plus side, Saturday’s match will see the return of striker Alan Gordon, who has just finished a two-game suspension for a dangerous tackle on Toronto’sAdrian Cann on Oct. 9.

Chicago Fire

Like their SoCal opponents, 2010 hasn’t been the best season for the Fire. Chicago failed to qualify for the postseason for the first time since 2004 and enter Saturday’s match with just two wins from their last 12 games. The team has particularly struggled on the road, having conceded 24 away goals so far – good for second-worst in the Eastern Conference.

While the big story for Chicago on Saturday will be the departure of veteran McBride, Chivas USA must be careful not to overlook the Fire’s dangerous offense. Of particular concern will be Patrick Nyarko, whose 10 assists so far in 2010 put him in a tie for fourth place in MLS. Freddie Ljungberg, too, brings a depth of experience to the Fire that cannot be underestimated.

Heroes and villains

Freddie Ljungberg vs. Michael Lahoud and Jorge Flores: Last season, when Ljungberg was still with Seattle, the former Arsenal midfielder struggled to find any real rhythm against Chivas USA. In all three matches that the teams played, the Swede was largely ineffectual due mostly to the efforts of Lahoud and Flores.

The two youngsters were tasked with hassling Ljungberg through the midfield, and hassle him they did. Expect the same experience vs. youth battle on Saturday evening, with the spoils going to the victor.

Stat that makes you go "Hmm…"

Chicago’s longest winning streak of the 2010 MLS season was two. Chivas USA? One the team failed to win back-to-back games at any point this year.