Several interesting statistics surround the Sounders’ match at Chivas USA tonight.
However, as Mark Twain and coach Sigi Schmid will tell you, statistics sometimes lie.
Here are Schmid’s takes on some of the numbers that fall together in this meeting of MLS Western Conference rivals. (Some answers edited for space and clarity):
• Chivas has a better record on the road (4-2-4) than at home (3-7-2).
Schmid: “That’s a little bit hard to explain. Some teams are a little more conservative when they play away from home, so that puts a little more pressure on the home team to be able to break down a team that’s sitting back or is a little more organized. And offensively – whether they’ve been at home or away – they haven’t scored a lot of goals. So now breaking down a team that has a little more of a conservative game plan becomes maybe more difficult for them. And then playing away from home when a team is attacking you, then it opens up a little for you if you have some people – (Juan) Agudelo has some speed, (Juan Pablo) Angel is good at getting on the end of crosses – who can get into flank areas before the other team gets organized, and they can take advantage of that.”
• The Sounders have the best record in MLS when scoring the first goal (11-0-1), but are 0-6-4 when conceding the first goal.
Schmid: “Every team has a phenomenal disparity in their record as to when they score first and when they don’t score first. So even though we have the best record, there’s a lot of good records that way. Scoring first is just important because it changes the game and forces the other team to be a little more aggressive, a little more offensive. And it changes for the team with the lead because now spaces open up a little bit, you play with a little more confidence. We’ve had some opportunities for comebacks. We haven’t taken advantage of those in the same way that we did last year, but I’d rather not have us be a team that has to come back week after week.”
• Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning leads MLS with a 0.57 goals-against average but is second to last (among keepers with a minimum of 700 minutes played) with 23 saves.
Schmid: “Stats are a funny thing. (Although Gspurning was credited for no saves in the 2-0 win over Vancouver last week) I think he was called upon to make a couple of plays and a couple of saves for us as well. It wasn’t exactly a saveless game.”
• Chivas USA averages 13,559 fans per home game, second-to-last (New England) in MLS.
Schmid: “It’s a tough market. It’s been tough for Chivas really playing mostly in the shadow of the Galaxy in the same building. I know they’re probably working toward –and probably a good solution for the club – getting their own stadium, and as a result with that maybe more their own identity. But the L.A. market is definitely a lot tougher.”
SOUNDERS FC (11-6-7; 40 POINTS) AT CHIVAS USA (7-9-6; 27)
7:30 p.m., Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif.
TV: Ch. 5. RADIO: 97.3-FM.
CLUB LEADERS: For Seattle – G 11, Eddie Johnson; A 10, Mauro Rosales; S 86, Fredy Montero; SOG 31, Montero; GAA 0.57, Michael Gspurning. For Chivas – G 4, Juan Pablo Angel; A 3, Ryan Smith; S 35, Angel; SOG 12, Angel; GAA 1.18, Dan Kennedy.
HEAD TO HEAD: The series is even, 2-2-4. The Goats lead 2-1-2 at home. The clubs played to 1-1 draw at Chivas on May 26. They will meet again at CenturyLink Field on Sept. 8.
NOTES: Seattle is third in the MLS Western Conference, seven points from the top. Chivas is seventh, 10 points out of playoff position. … Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said Friday that his lineup might for the first time combine the “big four” of forwards Johnson and Montero and midfielders Rosales and Christian Tiffert. The game also could mark the MLS debut of newly acquired midfielder Mario Martinez. … Chivas is last in MLS with 15 goals scored and an average of 0.68 goals per game. The Goats also are last in shots and shots on goal. They have six goals over 12 home games. … Seattle is 4-1-3 over its last eight games. Chivas is 3-2-3 over the same stretch. … Sounders midfielder Andy Rose (ribs) is out. Former Sounder Pete Vagenas (hamstring) is questionable for Chivas. … Former Sounders defender James Riley is expected to start for Chivas.
NEXT: The Sounders resume CONCACAF Champions League play against Caledonia AIA at 5 p.m. Thursday in Couva, Trinidad. Seattle’s next MLS match is Sept. 2 at FC Dallas.firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com 253-597-8808 blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer @donruiztnt