MetroStars pulling for FC Dallas

and a bit shorter -- this week under Johnston. What had been two-hour sessions under former coach Bob Bradley are now an hour and 15 minutes.

"He's just demanded that every single guy come and work hard and if you do that the trainings will be short," Meola said. "I think they would have been shorter at this time of the year anyway, but they've been intense for sure. It's very typical of probably how he grew up with coaches -- no mistake goes unpunished really."

Chivas come into the game with very little to play for. However a chance to knock the Metros out of playoff contention is surely incentive enough.

"They'd love to spoil it," Carlos Mendes said. "We're expecting them to come at us and they're going to play hard and it's going to be a good game."

The only other meeting between the two teams came Aug. 21 at Giants Stadium, with the Metros needing to rally for a wild 3-3 tie on an Amado Guevara hat trick. That was the first MLS game for Mexican internationals Francisco Palencia and Juan Pablo Garcia, two players the Metros again need to worry about Sunday.

"We definitely can't underestimate them," Magee said. "We already have this year and we didn't get three points off of it. Maybe if we would have beat them last time we would have been sitting in the playoff spot right now."

Added Johnston: "We need to take care of (Ramon) Ramirez and Palencia. We need to put pressure on their back three and hopefully we can entice Ezra (Hendrickson) into no-man's land and get behind him because I believe their system of 3-5-2, I don't think works very, very well and it's shown at certain points."

While this is their first meeting with Chivas on the West Coast, the Metros have traditionally done well at The Home Depot Center, sporting a 1-0-2 mark in Carson, Calif.

"We've had some good results there," Magee said. "I don't know what it is, a good atmosphere, maybe just a good matchup. I think it's been good to us. We've played really well there and this is no different. Three points is a must no matter what happens in the other game."

Dylan Butler is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.

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