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Match #31 Preview: Philadelphia Union At Chivas USA

CHESTER, PA- JUNE 25: Danny Mwanga #10 of the Philadelphia Union runs down the ball in front of Chris Cortez #27 of Chivas USA at PPL Park on June 25, 2011 in Chester, Pennsylvania. The Union won 3-2. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
CHESTER, PA- JUNE 25: Danny Mwanga #10 of the Philadelphia Union runs down the ball in front of Chris Cortez #27 of Chivas USA at PPL Park on June 25, 2011 in Chester, Pennsylvania. The Union won 3-2. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
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Setting: Sunday, October 2 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.; kickoff scheduled for 8:06:30 PM Eastern

Broadcast Information: The Comcast Network (JP Dellacamera, Taylor Twellman, Bob Rigby), coverage beginning at 7:30 PM with a pre-game show / PRIME TICKET (Christian Miles, Allen Hopkins), KWHY-TV/W Radio 690 XEWW-AM (Hipólito GamboaRigo Cervantez) in Los Angeles / MLS Direct Kick, MatchDay Live (PRIME TICKET feed)

Chivas's Record: 8-12-11, seventh in West

Chivas's Last Match: W, 3-0 vs. Toronto FC

Philadelphia vs. Chivas This Season: 1-0-0 (Chivas 2 @ Philadelphia 3 on June 25)

For the Chivas Perspective, Visit The Goat Parade

After an exhilarating 3-2 victory against regional and standings rival DC United on Thursday, the Philadelphia Union face a very quick turnaround as they head cross-country to pay a visit to Chivas USA. From a physical standpoint, this will undoubtedly be the Union's toughest test of the season -- players' bodies are likely just starting to recover from a fast-paced, physical match on Thursday, and to immediately throw a six-hour plane ride, a three-hour time change and another match at them is a big challenge. And they won't be taking on a pushover side, either. As remote as the possibilities may be, Chivas is one of several clubs in a position where, if they win the remainder of their fixtures, they might just sneak their way into a wild card spot.

Nick LaBrocca, Justin Braun and Juan Pablo Angel make up a three-pronged attack for Chivas, with former Union player Alejandro Moreno sitting back slightly in the hopes of slipping behind opposing defenses who already have their hands full. Dan Kennedy has been forced to save his side's bacon on more than one occasion this season thanks to a somewhat erratic backline, and is fully capable of stealing points for his club tomorrow night against Philadelphia. Angel looks to be rejuvenated since moving across town from the Galaxy a month and a half ago, and that is a scary proposition for any team playing against him.

Philadelphia, on the other hand, is fighting to say in control of a top-3 spot in the Eastern Conference to guarantee their position in the postseason. While their three point performance against DC on Thursday was massive, they must take another result tomorrow night as they make up a match in hand against many of their Eastern Conference counterparts. The schedule doesn't get any easier for the Union, who visit Seattle next weekend before returning to the East Coast to host Jekyll and Hide-esque Toronto FC and visit the New York Red Bulls. Zac MacMath, who will be between the pipes once again, has had better performances than his one on Thursday, and has to be a little more aggressive both vocally and physically.

Projected starters, up-to-date injury reports and assorted notes after the jump...

Likely starters:

Philadelphia: MacMath; G. Farfan, Valdes, Califf (C), Williams; Carroll; Le Toux, Adu, Torres; Mwanga, Paunovic

Chivas: Kennedy; Jazic, Lopes, Pearce, Umana; Flores; Braun, Moreno, LaBrocca, Courtois; Angel

Injury updates:

For Philadelphia, Faryd Mondragon, Thorne Holder and Levi Houapeu remain out of the lineup with a right ring finger fracture, a concussion and a left ankle sprain, respectively. Sheanon Williams and Stefani Miglioranzi are considered "questionable" with an intercostal strain and right knee inflammation, respectively. Veljko Paunovic and Danny Mwanga are listed as "probable" despite a left calf strain and a right hip flexor strain, respectively.

For Chivas, Paulo Nagamura is unavailable due to a right foot issue while Heath Pearce is considered "questionable" with a hamstring issue. Ben Zemanski will not be available to play for Chivas tomorrow night, as he is serving a one-match suspension for yellow card accumulation.

Of note:

  • Michael Kennedy is listed as tomorrow's match referee. In 141 career MLS matches, Kennedy has called for an average of just under 29 fouls per match, handed out an average of just under four yellow cards per match, given a total of 26 red cards and has awarded a total of 48 penalty kicks.
  • Michael Lahoud, Carlos Valdes and Zarek Valentin are all one yellow card away from receiving the automatic one-match disciplinary suspension for yellow card accumulation that Ben Zemanski is serving for Chivas.
  • Last week's 3-0 win against Toronto FC was Chivas's first MLS win since August 6, and their first home win since late July.
  • In seven career matches coached against Chivas USA, Piotr Nowak is 6-0-1.
  • The Union have yet to win an MLS match west of Texas. They're winless to this point at Colorado, Los Angeles, Portland, Vancouver, Seattle, San Jose and at Chivas.
Can Philadelphia make it two for two on the week and snag a result on the road in Carson? Or will Chivas jump back into the playoff race in their own right? The Phillies game tomorrow isn't scheduled to start until 8:37 PM Eastern, so the first thirty minutes of the first half should be perfectly free for you to watch this one. Hope you can join us for a gamethread!