Ante Razov’s devastating knee injury Thursday Night leave DC United as the only fully healthy, hitting on all cylinders club entering the MLS post season. Chivas USA’s depth has been questioned much of the season, but Preki’s club had been able to continue to chase the Supporters Shield largely due to the consistency of the starting XI which faced little in the way of injuries. Expect Preki to place Frenchman Laurent Merlin in a withdrawn striker role playing right behind Maykel Galindo in the Goats attack, as a replacement for Razov. The other option up top would be John Cuncliffe whose play has improved dramatically as the year has gone on. Cuncliffe ironically enough is the only English player to score a goal for an LA based MLS club this season.
Other teams chasing DC United and ultimately MLS Cup also have concerns. While New England is relatively healthy they have yet to show me that they can really step up their play to get over the hump this season. Houston is still smarting from the loss of Rico Clark to suspension and seems to have lost some momentum lately. FC Dallas has been completely rocked by the addition of Denilson who once again Thursday Night gave a stinker of a performance.
Who else benefits from Razov’s injury beyond DC United? Whomever gets the 8th playoff spot will face Chivas whether it is the Cuauhtemoc Blanco led Fire or the David Beckham led Galaxy. Both teams lack the overall quality of Chivas USA but both sides obviously have rare superstar talents who ability to raise their game and understanding of football rivals that of anyone who has ever played in Major League Soccer. Chivas USA has been arguably the best club in MLS this year, and it is a shame to see it all end this way for them but I do not see them getting through a playoff series without Razov, a veteran whose class and quality has been among the best in the history of the league.