Some time ago, for no particular reason, I declared Chivas USA to be my favorite Western Conference team. There's something incredibly scrappy about them. And now here they come to play my favorite all-time team. Both teams are on a winning streak - so one or both of those streaks will end Sunday night.
Here's what the staff think:
As much as I try to resist it, two words keep jumping into my mind as I think about D.C. United vs. Chivas USA: "trap game". The Black-and-Red are riding a two-game road-winning streak, and they will be feeling good about themselves. Even with Chivas USA playing very well right now, it will take a remarkable bit of coaching and team leadership for D.C. United to take the Goats seriously as a quality side when facing them at home. I hope I'm wrong, but I see Chivas going up early on a Cubo Torres goal, and D.C. United chasing the equalizer for a long stretch, finally scoring in the closing 15 minutes with a goal from Chris Rolfe to settle for the 1-1 draw.
Adam M Taylor
I try to be original in my predictions, but there's no way not to make the same comment everybody else is: who'da thunk that Chivas USA would be riding a 4-game winning streak into RFK Stadium for a match against an actually-in-the-mix-atop-the-East D.C. United after a 2013 season that saw them win a combined 9 games? But here we are, thanks to an influx of veteran quality on this side of things and an MVP-caliber season from Cubo Torres on the other. On Sunday, I think the better team will win, and - joy! - that means the Black-and-Red. Torres will get his obligatory tally, but Eddie Johnson, Chris Rolfe and Nick DeLeon will all find the net to give the hosts a 3-1 win.
Anyone who played lots of Nintendo games in the late 80s and early 90s will recall playing at least one game where, having defeated the supposed final boss, you must fight a mirror version of yourself to actually complete the game. Well, Sunday is about as close as United will get to that scenario all year, as Chivas USA's recent hot streak has come from adopting a style of play that is extremely similar to what we've been calling "Bennyball."
There are differences, though. The Chivas back four is slo-o-o-w, and their midfield can still struggle to pick up runners in transition. That's not necessarily a strength for United, but we're better at upping the tempo at home. I don't expect this to be a thriller, but I feel confident that United can pull out a 1-0 win. Chris Rolfe deserved a goal last week, so I'll tab him as the scorer.
While it heartens me to see Chivas USA doing well after so much failure, this weekend the team needs to take care of business with no mercy. Chris Rolfe, Luis Silva, EJ, and NDL should all find some space against that slow back line, and a 2-1 victory seems to be in order.
When any team that has been hapless starts to have the opportunity to play for something substantial, one never knows what could happen. I think Chivas (ahead of two games against teams ahead of them in the West) are going to want to feature well in this game and I think they come out of it with a point 1-1, with Cubo getting the Chivas goal because Viva Cubo.
What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? You get the hottest team in the league, Chivas USA, taking on the #1 team in the East, your beloved D.C. United. Cubo Torres is destroying the competition so far this season, but Bill Hamid has had a terrific stretch in the net for United. Who wins? 1. The fans. This will be an exciting match. 2. DCU brings Chivas's hot streak to an end. While Torres gets a brace, it's DeLeon, Boswell and EJ that keep the 3 points here at RFK.
Torres gets a brace. But our boys dissect the Chivas defense. DCU wins, 3-2. EJ gets one of those goals.
Okay, readers, what say you?