Thursday, March 15, 2007

DC United Preview: CONCACAF Champions Cup vs. Chivas

2007 CONCACAF Champions Cup: Semi Finals Leg 1
DC United vs. Chivas de Guadalajara
8:00pm, 3/15/2007
RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.

So the Semi Finals are here, with two Mexican clubs (Chivas & Pachuca) taking on two American clubs (DC United & Houston Dynamo). The two Mexican clubs are traveling north of the border for the first legs of the Semi Final series, which now both take place tonight.

DC United are sporting just about the same squad that defeated CD Olimpia 7-3 over two legs in the Quarter Finals. Goalkeeper Troy Perkins has recovered from his thigh strain and is expected to start tonight. In my opinion, the biggest key factor is that United have been able to get two more weeks of training under their belts, along with a full friendly against Honduran side Motagua last Friday, in which they were able to continue their offensive output with 4 goals.

Ok, the two Olimpia matches and the Motagua match were just the warm up. Now the big boys have come into town. Regardless of whatever anyone says, Olimpia might have been in mid-season form, but they sucked. Chivas are currently level with Pachuca at the top of the Mexican First Division. Yes they lost to W Connection in their first leg of their Quarter Final series, but they took care of business in the return leg and really should have won by about 5 goals.

Tonight's match and the away leg in Mexico will not be anything like the Olimpia matches. I expect to see a much stronger attacking and defending side taking on DC United. I fully expect Chivas to test our defense and to see how efficient our offense really is. The two home matches two years ago against PUMAS and Catolica are what I expect more than the two Olimpia matches. That said, I also expect to see a much different DC United club than the side that took on PUMAS and Catolica. We have a much stronger attack, composed midfield and a lot more experience in the defense and goal.

I really do not know what to expect in tonight’s match. As it is raining now, I am hoping that the weather conditions cause enough problems for the Chivas defense that Emilio, Moreno and Gomez can sneak in a couple of goals to have some type of aggregate lead going into the altitude in Mexico. Hopefully our defense will be able to either step it up as they did last season, or do just enough to keep the wheels from coming off of the wagon and we get a route handed to us at home.

See you all out there, expect 25,000 people. :)

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