How Chivas USA can turn around their 2010 season
With the 2010 All-Star Game over and done with, MLS now turns its attention to the second half of the season and the playoffs this November. With that in mind, here are three things that Chivas USA must do in the second half if the team is to overcome a weak first four months and end the year on a high note.
Win. Don't Draw.
Gone are the days when a draw can be seen as a good result for Martín Vásquez and his men. Even on the road, Chivas USA must go for the victory if the team is to have any chance at a fifth consecutive playoff appearance. This means more attack-minded soccer and more risk-taking from the men in Red-and-White, which, at the very least, should make for more exciting games in the upcoming weeks.
The Goats currently hold a dismal 15 points from 16 matches. Last season, the lowest point tally to make the playoffs was Real Salt Lake’s 40. That means that Chivas must squeeze at least 25 points from their final 14 games if they are to have any shot at of playing soccer in November.
Find Consistency with New Faces
The Goats’ locker room has had a revolving door over the course of the last nine months. Gone are Jon Conway, Jim Curtin, Kevin Harmse, Jesse Marsch, Lance Parker, Ante Razov, Bojan Stepanovic, Claudio Suárez, Carey Talley, Shavar Thomas, Sasha Victorine, Maicon Santos, Jose Macotelo and Sacha Kljestan.
In their places have arrived Carlos Borja, Dario Delgado, Rodolfo Espinoza, Blair Gavin, Giancarlo Maldonado, Osael Romero, Michael Umana, Sal Zizzo, Ben Zemanski and Alex Zotinca.
That's 14 players out and 10 players in. Not to mention an entirely new coaching staff that sees assistant Carlos Llamosa as the only survivor from the old regime. Finding team chemistry with so much change has been difficult so far this season, and much of the Goats’ lack of success in the first half of the year can be chalked up to the extensive roster alterations.
That being said, it’s time for the Red-and-White to get their act together. Finding team chemistry can no longer be an excuse for poor performances. The moment has arrived for Chivas USA to gel on the pitch and start playing up to their collective potential.
Win the US Open Cup
For the first time in club history, Chivas are into the semifinals of a major tournament. The Goats have plowed through their Open Cup opposition so far, first downing the Austin Aztex, 1-0, before getting their first-ever victory at Robertson Stadium in a 3-1 win over the Houston Dynamo earlier this month.
The semifinals will see them take on reigning champions Seattle in Washington on Sept. 1. A win there and they’ll battle either D.C. United or the Columbus Crew on Oct. 5.
Winning the Open Cup would be a huge deal for Chivas USA. The team has yet to earn any real silverware since joining the league in 2005, even though the Goats have been one of the better clubs in MLS over the course of the last five years. A victory in this tournament would finally erase the memory of four consecutive first-round exits from the league playoffs and would silence the many critics who claim that the Red-and-White crumble under the pressure of big games.