If you're sick of reading hit pieces against the Goats of the North, I completely understand. There are a couple more playoff series to cover, I'll try to be more even-handed with them.
So last year I yelled to everyone who would listen how the Goats didn't win on the road, they came into the playoffs hurt, they got fat on a weak schedule, and they didn't match up well at all against a physical team in playoff games when the refs swallow their whistles.
This year, the Goats don't win on the road, they're hurt, they got fat off a weak schedule, the refs are going to swallow their whistles again, and they're up against another bunch of bruisers. On the other hand, their record was much worse than last year, they're far weaker in goal, and they're going up against what I assume would be a significant home field advantage.
I'm not completely ignoring CUSA's advantages. Given a lucky bounce in the other bracket, they might have home field advantage not only to but including MLS Cup. That has to be pretty inspirational. Sacha Kljestan is the only Guadalajaja player to improve from last year, but he's a guy who can make the difference single-handedly. Boy, I'd love for him to find a coach who can teach him how to pass. Preki has gotten his team to believe in the cause, especially when they could have folded up and died after all the injuries.
But everything Kljestan can do, Morales can do, and he has a better defense behind him and better forwards to pass to. If Preki can motivate, so can Jason Kreis. (I feel bad for the referees in this series, let me tell you.)
Furthermore, this is, again, where the format screws over the higher-rated team. Chivas USA had to fight back at home against the Wizards, because KC got first bite of the home field advantage apple. That was at effin' Arrowhead. Rio Bravo is going to be, forgive the expression, a cauldron in comparison. And RSL is more than capable of shutting the store on defense in the return leg.
Yes, CUSA was the only team to win in Utah this year. Salt Lake won in a Chivas home game, too.
This may be another "Slap Shot" championship game, and we're probably looking at one or two goal aggregate win over both games. But this is Salt Lake's to lose.
Or you can read about the Chivas tradition of pride and passion, and how this year it will finally make its way up to LA County. Your call.