CARSON, Calif. – Chivas USA may have some new swagger following a win over the LA Galaxy and a hard-earned road draw with New York. But they'll be without one of their best weapons on Saturday.
Midfielder Nick LaBrocca will miss Chivas' matchup with the Seattle Sounders (10:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online) with what head coach Robin Fraser says is a hamstring strain. According to Fraser, the attacker will be “out for a little while” after suffering the injury against the Red Bulls on Wednesday.
That puts LaBrocca on a list of missing midfielders that includes Oswaldo Minda (international duty) and Ben Zemanski (MCL sprain) who are out or unlikely to feature against Seattle.
While they will be without LaBrocca, Chivas will be able to call upon Juan Agudelo, who returned from US national team camp in Orlando, Fla., on Thursday evening. Although he was unable to crack a deep US front line for World Cup qualifiers, head coach Robin Fraser expects Agudelo to be motivated on Saturday.
“I’m sure there is some disappointment in him, but he knows that if he continues work well and continues to work hard there are plenty of national team opportunities in his future,” said Fraser. “And for him, it’s an opportunity for him to get in and play games and further prove to Jurgen why he should be there.”
Riley faces old mates
For three seasons, James Riley was a fixture for the Seattle Sounders and a pillar in the Seattle community. On Saturday though, he'll face off against his former team for the first time since joining Chivas USA in the offseason.
Since being acquired in an Expansion Draft deal that sent him down the West Coast, Riley has been as steady as ever and is the only field player to have played every minute for the club this season. His time with Seattle may be in the past, but Riley admits that the game will be “more fun than difficult.”
“It’s a great team, special team that entire experience was definitely dear to my heart and a great time for me, but obviously, I’ve turned the chapter now,” Riley told MLSsoccer.com. “I have some good friends on that team that I’ll text regularly, but obviously we’ll say our hellos and give hugs before the game, but when the whistle blows we’re looking to secure three points against a very good team.”
Currently, things have been going less than perfect for Seattle, who are currently in the midst of a three-game winless streak and will be without midfield dynamo Osvaldo Alonso due to a suspension by the MLS Disciplinary Committee for a dangerous tackle during Wednesday’s game against the Columbus Crew.
Despite their recent struggles, Riley expects the Sounders to come out with vengeance on Saturday as they look to break out of their recent skid.
“Obviously, their backs are against the wall for their standards with a winless three games,” said Riley. “They’ll definitely be coming out hungry, they definitely like to play at [the wide field of] the Home Depot Center, so they’ll look to open up spaces like that. … But they have some weapons that we’ll try to bottle up and we’ll look to catch them on the other end with our weapons.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.