Friday, September 21, 2007

Must win

The playoffs may seem like a mere formality for Chivas USA. After all, just one point from Saturday's game will be enough to seal the deal.

But this game against Kansas City is pretty much a must-win despite the large cushion Chivas have built up for themselves.

The last couple of weeks have been taxing for Chivas but the club still came away with eight points from four games. Now, Chivas needs a win over Kansas City not just to gain entry into the playoffs but to take back sole possession of first place. Houston is off this weekend and three points would ensure that Chivas USA would control their own fate for the remainder of the campaign.

The Supporters Shield may be out of reach but Chivas USA can still finish first atop the Western Conference and make sure that the two most important games of the year would be played at a place Chivas has lost in just once this season. Chivas would host the second leg of the quarterfinal and the conference final should everything go right for the club. A year ago, Chivas had the conference final lined up but slipped badly in the quarterfinal leg.

The Wizards have much to play for on Saturday as their own playoff future is in the balance. In fact, with the new playoff format, this might be a playoff preview. All that will make Saturday's game a tougher-than-usual affair, but with the stakes elevated for both sides, only a win will give confidence that the club can attain its goal of reaching MLS Cup.

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