Chivas scramble for points with playoff hopes fading fast

With five games in hand, the Goats must earn every point to get to MLS Cup Playoffs

Juan Pablo Angel at Colorado 2012

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CARSON, Calif. – Heading into Saturday’s match at Colorado (9 pm ET; watch LIVE online), Chivas USA could have been in a much better position.

The club had a chance to cut the distance between themselves and a playoff spot to four games, but instead, los Rojiblancos now have quite a bit of work to do just to get within sight of the fifth and final Western Conference playoff spot.

Chivas, though, have faith that as long as they keep their focus, the challenge won’t seem so insurmountable.

“In this league, we all know every game is winnable, literally every game is winnable,” goalkeeper Dan Kennedy said. “With that being said we move onto Colorado. We better show up.”

HIGHLIGHTS: LA 4, CHI 0

Chivas certainly did not do that last time out. The Galaxy blitzed them with three second-half goals and won going away by 4-0. The distance between the two teams in the standings stretched to 10, and following LA’s road point on Wednesday sits at 11 before the weekend's slate of matches.

While the Goats are quite a few points back of the final playoff spot, there is a bit of cautious optimism.

“You’ve got [five] games in hand,” Chivas head coach Robin Fraser said. “That doesn’t mean anything unless you win those games. Games in hand gives you a lifeline that you either take advantage of or you don’t.”

That Chivas USA will begin to play games at a bit of a fast and furious clip does provide hope for the players, but that hope now is tinged with reality.

“We still have games in hand so we’re still in it, but we definitely have to start winning some games at home,” Chivas defender Ante Jazic said. “We have a good group but we just have to start connecting things, connecting the lines, being better in front of the goal, be better defensively.”

The bitter SuperClásico loss was tough for Chivas players to deal with but it did teach them one thing: how not to handle a big game. The team could have won the season series against the Galaxy and climbed directly into the playoff hunt.

The trick now is to learn from that.

“We have some tough games coming up,” captain Danny Califf said. “We have a tough road game against Colorado and after that Seattle. There are certainly games that we’re going to need take lessons away from [the Galaxy] game in order for us to move on.”

Luis Bueno covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached by e-mail at buenodad@gmail.com.