Chivas, DC square off looking for crucial points

The Basics

Chivas USA (5-11-4, 19 points, eighth place in the West) vs. D.C. United (4-14-3, 15 points, eighth in the East), at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.

TV Info

10 p.m. ET; ESPN2, ESPN Deportes

Game Intro

Two teams in desperate need of points will square off at the HDC. The clubs have met once already this season, contesting a crazy back-and-forth match in Washington on May 29 that saw United take a 3-2 win after an injury-time penalty kick goal from former Goat Carey Talley.

Complicating the affair is the fact that both sides have US Open Cup semifinal matches next Tuesday evening: D.C. United at Columbus and Chivas USA at Seattle. With a 2010 postseason appearance a long shot for both clubs, Sunday’s game may see a few lineup changes as each coach looks to preserve some fresh legs for the midweek matchups.

Chivas USA

Sunday’s contest is a must-win for the Red-and-White. Sitting in last place in the Western Conference and four points behind their closest rival, the Goats can no longer afford to drop any points at home if they are going to mount a serious challenge for a playoff spot this year. Eastern Conference basement-dweller DC will be a welcome sight for a Chivas USA side that has faced the likes of serious MLS Cup contenders Columbus, Dallas and Salt Lake in recent weeks. Martín Vásquez’s men will be happy with nothing less than a full three points on Sunday.

D.C. United

DC have had a rough summer, winning just one of their last nine matches. Interim head coach Ben Olson has only been at the helm since Aug. 5 and is likely still finding his rhythm. Add to that a groin injury to team captain and MLS veteran Talley and a 3,000-mile trip through three time zones and United’s trip to Los Angeles will be a daunting one indeed.

Heros & Villians

Carey Talley vs. his old team: The veteran defender, who turns 35 next Thursday, spent three seasons as a vital cog in Chivas' back line. But after he was released in March, Talley found his way to DC and now captains the Black-and-Red. That game-winning PK against his former squad back in May was a sweet moment of revenge. But this will be his first return to his old stomping grounds. Although he likely won't start Sunday as he's recovering from a groin strain, Talley is no doubt still looking to stick it to the organization that let him go.

Stat that makes you go "Hmm…"

Chivas USA have yet to win a game all season in which they don’t score first. DC, meanwhile, have pulled the feat off just once this year. Who was the victim of their lone come-from-behind victory? Chivas USA, on May 29.

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