Chivas USA look for fresh start in USOC qualifying

Goats head to Portland for play-in game looking to right ship

Mariano Trujillo of Chivas USA.

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CARSON, Calif. – Chivas USA may be 0-2, but on Tuesday, the team will get an opportunity to start afresh as the Rojiblancos look to qualify for the US Open Cup tournament.

Up first is a date with the expansion Portland Timbers in the opening round of qualification. The Goats will take on the Timbers in front what should be a raucous crowd at Merlo Field on the campus of the University of Portland (Tuesday, 10 pm ET, streamed live at portlandtimbers.com).

Both teams are currently without a result in their first two matches of the season, but Chivas USA captain Jimmy Conrad believes that the Rojiblancos have the upper hand on the Timbers.

“Portland is in the same position that we are. I’d like to think that our performances are better there’s since they’ve been a bit inconsistent,” said the Chivas USA captain at training on Monday. “We’ve shown that we’re a good team, but we just don’t have the record to show for it. It’s going to be a hard game as we go into their den of the University of Portland, but hopefully, we can get something out of it.”

Following the defeat to the Colorado Rapids, many in the Chivas USA locker room have cited a lack of urgency that has plagued the team and led to two poor results. The club will be bolstered along the back line as New Zealand international Andrew Boyens has returned from international duty and will likely start against the Timbers.

Against Portland, the club hopes that the team can discover what one member of the team described as “conviction.”

The Rojiblancos have not had much success in the Open Cup except for last year’s drive to the USOC semifinals where the club fell to the Seattle Sounders, who went on to win the tournament.

“The tournament is still young, but we have another opportunity to turn this around,” said defender Mariano Trujillo. “We just need to focus and renew our concentration so that we can be a top team defensively and at least, if we can’t win, then we can’t lose.”

One member of the Rojiblancos is making his return to Rose City to the very field that he played on in college. Defender Heath Pearce played at the University of Portland from 2003 to 2005, where he was a mainstay for the Pilots.

The match against the Timbers is part of a week long road trip for the Goats, who will travel to Toronto after the match to take on Toronto FC in MLS play on Saturday.

Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at adam.m.serrano@gmail.com and on Twitter: @adamserrano