Chivas USA v Portland Timbers – Preview

I’m going to keep this preview short and to the point. Kind of. Behold… stats…

Portland have picked up 6 points from the last 15 available – both home wins against seattle sounders and San Jose Earthquakes. As everyone knows, we’re having a rough time of it on the road this year, and in 8 games have picked up 2 points. Chivas, on the other hand, have picked up 12 points in 7 games away from home – including a 2-1 win at Jeld Wen earlier in the season.

Chivas’ last 2 games have ended in 0-0 draws. In the last 5 games, they’ve scored 3, and conceded 5. Portland have a much higher number of goals scored in their games (by in large thanks to the LA result), scoring 7 and conceding a whopping 13 goals. For those without a calculator or the inclination, that’s an average of 1.4 goals scored, 2.6 goals conceded. Rounding up to 3 goals conceded per game… not good. Our season average is 1.6 goals conceded per game… we need to shore up that defence.

Passing-wise, Chivas have a healthier success rate – averaging 76% success from 465 attempted passes. That’s a per game average. Portland manage 420 attempts a game, at a success rate of 71%. One shining light in that relatively poor statistic is that in our previous game, we hit the highest completion rate out of the last 5 games (and 2nd highest all season), with a cool 80.8% success from630 attempted passes. I’d like to think this was attributed to a change in formation and a re-defining of roles and expectations within the team. Credit has to go to Gavin Wilkinson for an instant impact in that department – let’s see whether it can be continued against Chivas today.

One area that Chivas excel in is that of cross creation. We’ll have to be wary of this, and we’ll also have to improve in dealing with it. Compared to their opponents, Chivas attempted 129 crosses across the last 5 games, where their opponents attempted 92. Chivas have a cross success rate of 29.7%, whilst their opponents had 31.1% success. It’s difficult to ascertain from these stats the reality of these statistics, but lined up against that of Portland, it does show a pattern of play that would be of concern to us. Portland (who in some quarters were derided for their one dimensional “play down the wing and bang it” style of John Spencer) only attempted 73 crosses in the last 5 games (bear in mind there were 20 goals in our last 5 games to Chivas’ 8), where our opponents attempted 114. Our opponents land 23.1% of all crosses, where we managed a paltry 17.6%. If you remember the game away to Colorado, we were murdered down our left-hand side by Brian Mullan and Hunter Freeman.

To sum it up with an incredibly unfounded prediction, I’d like to think we can win today. Chivas have struggled to find goals, but conversely kept it tight (on the whole) at the back. If we can fix the mistakes made in the “Nine Minutes of Hell” endured against LA, I believe we can build on the foundations laid on Saturday. Jewsbury, Nagbe, Chara and Alexander usually have a good level of ball retention, and those on the pitch did incredibly well in that department at the weekend. Boyd should be full of confidence after playing his part in all 3 goals also, hopefully further enhanced by a (hopefully rejuvinated) Diego Chara.

Like I said in my last match review, I may have overdosed on #BeliefBeyondReason… but we’ve got to win on the road at some point. Why not at 1pm in front of a bunch of kids?

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