It’s the beginning of the end for Wilmer Cabrera’s Chivas USA, as an era marred by so much bad news and excess baggage begins to draw to a close. The Goats begin their year of transition at home on Mar. 9 against Frank Yallop’s Chicago Fire. Chicago just missed out on the MLS Cup playoffs last year and will look to make amends at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. to get on the winning track.
Kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. PT/3 p.m. ET and will be televised by UniMas. Here are 10 Bold Predictions for Sunday’s encounter between Chivas USA and the Chicago Fire.
1. There will be at least five goals scored
This is a game made for goals, goals, and more goals. In what may look like a mismatch on paper, there will be at least five goals scores on Sunday at StubHub.
2. Mike Magee will score a hat trick
The swingman for the Fire is former Los Angeles Galaxy standout Mike Magee, a local native of Chicago. He was last year’s MLS MVP with 15 goals and four assists and nearly singlehanded led Chicago to the playoffs. Magee will have a fun time finishing his shots and he will get a hat trick to lead the Fire.
3. Erick Torres will score for Chivas USA
Erick “Cubo” Torres was Chivas USA’s leading goalscorer with seven goals last season. He will score late in the second half for the Goats, but it won’t factor much into the final outcome.
4. Over four saves for Dan Kennedy
Dan Kennedy must feel like a prisoner of the worst team in MLS. The Chivas USA captain made 104 saves last year and he is going to have to stop whatever he can against the Chicago Fire goal-scoring machine. Kennedy will make over four saves to lead Chivas.
5. Patrick Nyarko will score for Chicago
Patrick Nyarko played a supporting role in Chicago’s 2013 season, with four goals and four assists apiece. Nyarko will need to up the ante a bit and he will do so against a relatively straightforward opponent to deal with in Chivas USA. Nyarko will score in the first half.
6. Under five saves for Sean Johnson
This is Chivas USA the Chicago Fire are facing, so there won’t be too much work for Sean Johnson. He’ll make saves, but he will only need to made no more than four on Sunday at StubHub.
7. Jeff Larentowicz with a couple of assists
With Joel Lindpere on his way out, the onus is on Jeff Larentowicz to be a provider for Magee, Nyarko and Chris Rolfe. Larentowicz had four assists last year and will look to up his total starting on Sunday with two assists.
8. No goals or assists for Carlos Alvarez
Carlos Alvarez had a good season, with two goals and three assists for Chivas USA in league play last year. Against Chicago, Alvarez will have it tough. There will be no goals or assists for Carlos Alvarez against the Fire.
9. Under 9,000 in attendance for the season opener
Chivas USA had the lowest average attendance for its home games, averaging 8,366 a match. There will be under 9,000 in attendance for the Goats’ season opener against Chicago.
10. Chicago ease into 2014 with a win
Powered by a solid performance from Mike Magee and some great work amongst its midfielders, the Chicago Fire will open up their 2014 season with a solid victory over Chivas USA.
Chicago Fire 4, Chivas USA 1