The Seattle Sounders are headed back to the site of their worst performance of the season, although now they will be going up against a team that is facing an uncertain future.
The Sounders have had their own problems preparing for Saturday night’s visit to Chivas USA, which plays for the first time since coach Jose Luis Sanchez Sola was fired earlier in the week.
Seattle (4-4-3) is short-handed with Eddie Johnson and Brad Evans with the United States national team and Mario Martinez with Honduras. The Sounders are also without Shalrie Joseph, who was sent off in Sunday’s 4-0 loss to Los Angeles at the StubHub Center.
Now Seattle is back in the same building to face Chivas USA (3-7-2) after traveling across the country for Wednesday’s 1-0 loss at Tampa Bay in the U.S. Open Cup which caused coach Sigi Schmid to leave some players at home. He’s hopeful that Osvaldo Alonso will return after the midfielder missed the first two matches this week due to a left adductor strain.
“We sent some guys back to Seattle so hopefully they got a little bit of rest,” Schmid said. “Hopefully Alonso will be able to play for us on Saturday because we’re pretty thin in midfield.”
The Sounders are 4-0-4 in their last eight meetings with Chivas USA, which dismissed Sanchez Sola on Wednesday.
The coach was an unknown hire who previously worked in the Mexican league and was brought in to provide credibility and stability to the floundering franchise. Instead Chivas is in last place in the Western Conference with a goal differential of minus-11 that is second-worst in MLS.
The team said Sanchez Sola had “not always followed the patterns of respect and conduct implemented by Major League Soccer, as well as by Chivas USA.”
Sacha van der Most will be Chivas USA’s interim coach Saturday before Jose Luis Real Casillas, the sporting development director at Chivas Guadalajara in Mexico, takes over next week.
The change came one day after former Chivas USA youth coaches Daniel Calichman and Theothoros Chronopoulos filed a discrimination lawsuit against the club, claiming they were fired because they aren’t Mexican or Latino.
The players insist they will do their best to end an 0-6-1 MLS winless run in which Chivas has been outscored 17-3 - 13-1 during a four-game slide.
“Unfortunately this is the hard part of this game,” goalkeeper Dan Kennedy told Chivas’ official website. “It’s something that as a team we can’t let distract us for this weekend.”
Without Johnson and his team-high four goals, Seattle will lean more heavily on Obafemi Martins - who has scored three times in six games. Mauro Rosales may play after he sat out the U.S. Open Cup match with a shoulder problem.
Schmid is lamenting the fact that he won’t be able to train with his full team.
“We really can’t train, a lot of it is just recovery,” Schmid said.
Chivas USA advanced in its U.S. Open Cup match by rallying for a 2-1 victory over the LA Blues on Tuesday.
The club still does not have a current player who has scored more than one goal following the trade of Juan Agudelo to New England on May 7.