Union-Chivas USA Preview


After enjoying stunning road victories earlier this month, the Philadelphia Union and Chivas USA have struggled in different areas while falling back into their losing ways.

As Philadelphia attempts to avoid their sixth defeat in seven matches, Chivas looks to stop a four-game home losing streak by beating the Union for the first time in franchise history Saturday night.

Following an 0-5-4 winless stretch, Philadelphia (2-7-5) handed defending MLS Cup champion Sporting Kansas City its first home loss May 14 with a 2-1 victory.

Instead of building on that impressive result, sloppy play in the back end has the team on the verge of matching its worst losing streak of the season. The Union, ninth in the Eastern Conference, have given up nine goals in their last two losses after allowing 15 over their first 12 matches.

"There's no way to sugarcoat it. It hasn't been good," said manager John Hackworth, whose club is tied with Houston for the most goals allowed. "We are clearly struggling to find a backline that is executing and playing well. But it's something we've got to continue to work on."

Goalkeeper Zac MacMath and the defense hope to get back on track as the Union look to remain unbeaten versus West-worst Chivas (2-6-4). Philadelphia is 4-0-2 in the all-time series, including a 3-1 home victory in the only meeting last season.

MacMath has allowed the most goals over a two-game stretch of his four-year career, but he's given up only two in three career meetings with the Goats.

Now he'll face a Chivas team that has totaled one goal in its last two matches since ending a 19-game MLS road winless streak with a 3-1 victory at Colorado on May 11. The club played to a 1-all draw at Dallas on May 17 before allowing a pair of second-half tallies in Wednesday's 2-0 home loss to Portland.

Since scoring eight times in his first 10 matches, Erick Torres - tied for third among the MLS scoring leaders - has no goals in two consecutive games for the first time this season. Marvin Chavez scored twice in his Chivas debut against the Rapids, but he hasn't played since then due to international duty and remains with the Honduran team.

The Goats have been outscored 11-2 in their last four home matches and will try to avoid their first five-game slide at StubHub Center since 2012.

"To be able to win at home is an objective that we all have," midfielder Mauro Rosales told the team's official website. "That's what we need and now we have to work hard to be ready for the match against Philadelphia."

The Union aren't exactly tearing it up offensively, either. Maurice Edu, who returned to the club after failing to make the U.S. World Cup roster, provided the lone tally in Sunday's 4-1 loss to Los Angeles in the opener of a two-game California trip.

The midfielder has three goals to tie for the team lead with Sebastien Le Toux, who didn't make the trip due to a back injury.

Michael Lahoud also will not be available because of a second call-up to his native Sierra Leone, which is competing in the Africa Cup of Nations. However, Cristian Maidana (suspension) and Austin Berry (ankle) are expected to return.