Chivas USA confident ahead of tough test at Seattle
CARSON, Calif. — As Chivas USA hit the hump of their five-game road swing on Saturday, they do so with the chance to string together their first consecutive pair of away wins. However, it’s not just any plain old hump that stands in the Goats’ way.
Chivas USA visit CenturyLink Field (4 pm ET, watch LIVE online), where they’ll not only have to deal with a talented Seattle Sounders squad, but they must also face a raucous home crowd and deal with a difficult field turf surface.
“[Seattle are] a good team with a lot of points and are high up in the table,” Chivas USA midfielder Blair Gavin told MLSsoccer.com. “Now is the time when you want all points and obviously it’s a hostile environment, so it should be fun.
“We need to start putting together some wins. Obviously, it’s tough to go to Seattle and get a win, but we’ve got the players to do it and we’ve shown that we can handle environments on the road and win.”
A victory over the Sounders in Seattle thus far has eluded the Rojiblancos, as they've amassed a 0-1-1 record in the Emerald City since Seattle joined the league in 2009.
Making the Goats’ task a little more difficult is the fact that Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid’s ranks appear to be swelled with the return of forward O’Brian White and defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado. The pair has battled back from recent injuries and look to make their return to the playing field Saturday.
The addition of White, in particular, gives pause to head coach Robin Fraser, who admits a long-standing fondness for the forward.
“He’s a young Edson Buddle-type, a dangerous player who in college scored tons of goals and he’s obviously doing quite well,” said Fraser. “He’s a tremendous young talent.”
Fraser acknowledges Seattle will be a tough test for his team, but he knows it’s one they must pass if they want to hang with league’s big boys.
“[Seattle] just get stronger, but for us, if we want to get where we want to get to, then we need to compete and beat the best teams in the league,” Fraser said.
Although Fraser's side are currently in the middle of a five-match road trip, the team will get a brief respite as all three of the remaining road games will take place in the western half of the United States. Following their match with the Sounders, Chivas travel to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park to take on the Colorado Rapids before heading to Portland to face the Timbers.
While the fear may be that the journey is taking a negative toll on the team, Fraser feels that his club is even stronger than it was at the start of the month.
“We have a good vibe on the team right now,” said Fraser. “We’ve talked a lot looking about precision and taking pride in the things that we’re doing, and I think our focus is dialed in at the moment, but we’re loose. I feel like there is a lot of belief that we can do well.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @adamserrano