CARSON, Calif. – Chivas USA midfielder Mauro Rosales will face the Seattle Sounders Saturday night for the first time since his offseason trade and, though a return to the Emerald City would make for a far more emotional experience, he is excited to see some familiar faces.
“The entire organization, the fans, my teammates; everybody over there gave me three fantastic years,” Rosales told reporters ahead of Saturday’s game at StubHub Center (10:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE). “I’ll always be thankful for everything they did for me.
“Now, I’m thinking about this game and the future of our team. Chivas USA gave me the opportunity to stay in MLS. It’s going to be hard to play against [Seattle], but I’m a professional and will do my best for Chivas USA.”
One face Rosales and Chivas USA might not be as happy to see is that of Clint Dempsey, who leads MLS with six goals this season. Adding to the worry is the fact that the Goats are tied with the New York Red Bulls and Portland Timbers for most goals allowed (11) through the first six weeks.
As it happens, Chivas USA were able to contain both New York and Portland on the road, holding each side in 1-1 draws, but Seattle, with Dempsey and top assist man Obafemi Martins spearheading the attack, pose yet another challenge.
“I heard [Dempsey] was in bad form; if that’s bad form, then I don’t know which is the good one,” said Rosales, who has three assists with his new team. “He’s doing very well in Seattle and he did very well before, but the results weren’t there. … He’s a world-class player and a world-class player doesn’t forget how to play.”
Chivas USA (1-2-3), who bounced back from a dreadful performance against the LA Galaxy to earn a point at Portland last week, are seeking consistency. They edged the Timbers in the possession battle at Providence Park and following a similar blueprint would appear to be priority No. 1 this week in an effort to keep the ball away from Dempsey & Co.
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“It’s not going to be about one guy doing a job,” goalkeeper Dan Kennedy told reporters. “It’s going to be about making sure our back four and defensive midfielders are on the same page and always aware of where [Dempsey] is.
“He’s just dangerous. He’s got good timing on his runs in the box and he can also create something when the ball is at his feet. He’s multi-dimensional and has got a lot of different ways to hurt you. It’s really important that when he has the ball, we have guys to pressure him and cover him.”
Chivas USA, winless since their first game of the season, would gain some much-needed confidence by grabbing three points from Seattle (3-2-1).
“It’s a great challenge,” assistant coach Paul Caffrey told MLSsoccer.com. “You want to see where you stand against the best and [Dempsey] is one of the best. We’ll have a good test, but we’re ready for it.”