Chivas focused on playoffs despite long odds

After tough losses, Goats look to regroup to win last eight games

CARSON, Calif. — Chivas USA may have had a tough few days last week, but the team is far from quitting on the 2010 season. Back in Los Angeles after six days away, the Goats are refocused on chasing a fifth consecutive playoff spot, however long the odds may be.

Chivas USA are coming off back to back losses on the road. The team started with a tough 3-1 defeat to Seattle Sounders FC on Wednesday in the semifinals of the US Open Cup, then traveled to Commerce City and lost 3-0 to the Colorado Rapids on Saturday evening in MLS play.


“We are coming from traveling to Seattle to play on turf … and then to come here,” said Chivas USA head coach Martín Vásquez after the game against the Rapids. “The plan was to keep possession. We could have had a couple more chances in the first half.”

The Goats came out strong against the Rapids in the opening 45 minutes, testing Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens within the first five of play. But a 52nd-minute goal from Conor Casey took much of the wind from the Red-and-White’s sails.

“The first goal … mentally affected us,” said Vásquez. “That changed the game completely. We were warming up some guys to give us more of a punch up top, but then the mental weight on our shoulders was too heavy to come back. Then Colorado closed the game down like they should have.”

The drop in morale was clear. The Goats quickly lost steam as they conceded two more goals before the final whistle.

“In the second half we made a lot of mistakes,” said Chivas USA defender Mariano Trujillo. “We were not able to control the game. We could not keep the ball; we were losing the ball right away and we got tired. They capitalized their chances."

Added Vásquez: “[The loss to Colorado] is going to be a tough game to regroup
from, but we will and look
forward to next Friday.”

The Goats will return to MLS play against the New England Revolution at the Home Depot Center on Friday night. The chances of a postseason appearance are slim, but remain a mathematical possibility.

Over the course of the last three seasons, the average number of points for the final postseason-qualified team has been 40. With Chivas USA currently at just 22, they must win every game remaining if they are to make a real run at the playoffs.

“We have to win the next eight games,” said Trujillo. “We still have a chance to make it to the playoffs if we win. We have to our jobs.”