Los Angeles Soccer: Mattias Schnorf

CHIVAS USA: D.C. matchups are the biggest

September, 9, 2011

CARSON -- Chivas USA has seven games left to prove they belong in the postseason. All seven are pivotal -- the Goats are just one point outside the bubble, and the stretch drive to the Major League Soccer season is going to get heated.

Saturday night's Home Depot Center encounter against D.C. United is something more.

How does Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser describe it?

“Massive. So massive.”

The Goats (7-10-10) and D.C. (7-7-10) are among three teams just outside the top 10, and with showdowns 11 days apart -- they'll get together again Sept. 21 in Washington -- their battles represent a potential 12-point swing.

It's particularly important for the Goats (31 points), who have three fewer games to play than does D.C. (31), and one less than Philadelphia (35), New York (32) and Portland (32). The seven clubs likeliest to fight for the final four berths make for three matchups this weekend (the others: Sporting Kansas City-Houston and Philly-Portland), and Chivas is paying attention to the out-of-town scoreboard.

“I'm starting to watch [other games] a bit,” Fraser said. “I still think at the end of the day, it comes down to what we do. So I try not to get too caught up in the emotion swings of other teams' results. But you certainly are keeping an eye.”

WORTH NOTING: Chivas has released midfielder Francisco Mendoza, who returned to the Goats this year after playing for the club in 2005-08. He shares the club record for career appearances with Jonathan Bornstein, with 123. ... Right backs Zarek Valentin and Michael Lahoud, coming off injuries, are ready to go. ... Swiss center back Mattias Schnorf, from the second-tier NASL's Atlanta Silverbacks, and outside back Mark Bloom, who played this season for the USL Pro's Charlotte Eagles, have been on trial this week with Chivas. ... D.C. United leads the all-time series, 6-4-2. At HDC, it's 2-2-2. ... Chivas won last year's game in Carson, with Justin Braun scoring the lone goal.

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