Struggling Chivas USA seek end to lengthy slide

CARSON, Calif. – September could have been a critically important month for Chivas USA. The club could have climbed up the table and perhaps even hunted a playoff spot.

Instead, Chivas enter Saturday’s match against Real Salt Lake (10:30 pm ET; watch LIVE online) with a simple task: try and snap their five-game losing streak.

Chivas have gone 0-for-5 in the month of September, and when the club returns home to face Western Conference playoff qualifiers Real Salt Lake, getting a victory would cure several ills.

“Games are so critical at this point,” Chivas coach Robin Fraser told MLSsoccer.com. “We need a win and it would be huge for us for so many reasons rather than just psychological or emotional. We need to win to have even a chance to talk about the playoffs. Certainly for us it’s a big, big game.”

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Chivas last won a match on July 28, a 1-0 win at Portland. Their last home victory was also against the Timbers, on July 18. Their last outing that did not end up in a loss was on Aug. 29, a 3-3 draw at New England. Since then, opponents have had their way with Chivas, who consequently have slipped into last place.

Things were set up for a different outcome. Chivas had six games scheduled for September, the most of any Western Conference team. Others in the playoff hunt had far fewer, such as Vancouver (four games) and FC Dallas (three), but the Goats have only fallen behind instead of climbing up.

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“We’ve had games in hand now for a while and we’ve had to make those games up certainly at some point,” said Fraser, “and as I’ve said all along, the games in hand don’t mean anything if you don’t win them. We certainly have our work cut out at this point.”

Chivas’ remaining schedule will prove to be filled with skirmishes. RSL are in a hotly-contested battle for second place with the LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders while Vancouver (Oct. 3) and FC Dallas (Oct. 7) are fighting for the fifth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

“This is a big contest of wills, a test of character because yes, everybody is fighting for something and we have to show that we want it more than the next team,” said Fraser. “That’s everyone’s objective at this point, and hopefully the team with the stronger will wins.”

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