A month ago, the Seattle Sounders were sitting outside of the Western Conference playoff seeds hoping to break in. What a difference a few weeks make.
The club has won five of its last six matches and is sitting in third place in the West with 40 points. What should be even more of a concern to MLS rivals is that the club has four games in hand to league-leading Real Salt Lake, which has 48 points. There is plenty of time for the Sounders (12-8-4) to compete for the Supporters' Shield.
Chivas USA (5-14-7), meanwhile, is on the other end of MLS equation.
Sitting in the bottom spot of the West, Chivas has lived up to its recent poor standard over the past few years where instability appears to be the norm. Still, recent additions have sparked a uptick in form for the Goats. Mexico super starlet Erick Torres has set MLS alight with six goals in seven matches, and former United States captain Carlos Bocanegra has added veteran leadership on defense. The team has a more respectable record over the past few weeks, going 2-2-3 since July 17.
Seattle will be buoyed by its recent record against Chivas as it is undefeated in the past five matches between the two sides, winning four out of its last five games overall. However, there are some personnel dilemmas that Seattle will have to address.
Clint Dempsey and Eddie Johnson were called up by the United States national team to face Costa Rica on Sept. 6 and Mexico on Sept. 10, meaning they won't be available for the fixture. Brad Evans had originally been called in by Jurgen Klinsmann as well, but he will be out for club and country with a calf strain.