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Sounders-Chivas USA Preview

By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN

STATS Senior Writer

(AP) -- The Seattle Sounders own the best defense in MLS while Chivas USA has the league's worst offense.

It's Chivas USA, however, which is unbeaten in three games while the Sounders are winless in three heading into Saturday night's matchup at The Home Depot Center.

Chivas USA (4-6-2) remains the lowest-scoring team in the league with eight goals in 12 games, but it's gaining in confidence due to a 1-0-2 stretch. The club sandwiched draws around last Saturday's 1-0 victory over archrival Los Angeles that ended Chivas' 0-5-0 home start.

That win was followed by Wednesday's 1-1 draw at New York. Juan Pablo Angel, playing for the first time on the road against his former team, scored his second goal of the season after receiving a huge reception from the Red Bulls fans.

"It couldn't be better," Angel said. "I came back and I have so much respect for these people and this organization. Scoring a goal made it a great night."

Seattle (7-3-2) has conceded eight goals in 12 games and brings a 2-0-2 road record south, but is mired in an 0-2-1 slide for its worst three-game stretch of the season. The Sounders suffered their second straight home loss Wednesday, 2-0 to Columbus.

"Right now we're giving away some games in hand, so I'm not happy about that and obviously, going 0-2-1 in the last three games is also something that we're not happy about," coach Sigi Schmid said. "But we've got to make this streak as short as possible and get out of it."

The Sounders had been outscored 3-0 in going 0-2-1 in their first three road games in this series before beating Chivas 3-1 in their last visit Oct. 22.

Chivas has been boosted by the May 17 trades in which it acquired Danny Califf from Philadelphia and Juan Agudelo from New York. Agudelo missed Wednesday's game since he was training with the United States national team.

The 19-year-old Agudelo, however, was cut Friday after the close of training camp in Florida and could see action this weekend. Angel took his place in the lineup Wednesday.

"They're a team that's very confident right now," Schmid told the league's official website. "The addition of Danny Califf gives them a veteran presence in the back. Agudelo gives them a little bit of spirit, a little bit of hope in terms of a young, talented national team player that they were able to acquire. I think the spirit within the club is up."

Chivas midfielder Nick LaBrocca's status is uncertain after he was replaced after nine minutes Wednesday with a hamstring injury.

Seattle's Adam Johansson is out due to a hamstring problem that forced him off after 61 minutes Wednesday. Fellow midfielder Osvaldo Alonso has been suspended.

The Sounders also will be without defenders Leo Gonzalez (quad) and Patrick Ianni (back) for the fifth straight game. Seattle has conceded five goals in the four games the pair has missed.

Chivas will be without starting midfielder Oswaldo Minda, who has left to join Ecuador's national team for World Cup qualifying.

Updated May 25, 2012

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