Winless streak behind them, Chivas USA bullish on midsummer improvement: "This team is still fighting"
CARSON, Calif. – Chivas USA head coach José Luis “Güero” Real pegged Wednesday night’s 1-0 win against Toronto FC as a “special day,” but it might have been much more than that for the Goats, who grabbed three points for the first time since March 30 to snap a 14-game winless streak.
The victory sparked hope throughout the locker room as optimistic players seek a turnaround. The Rojiblancos were a game away from tying the club record of 15 matches without a win, which they set in the season opener this year after closing 2012 with another 14-game drought.
Climbing out of last place in the Western Conference is the next step.
“All the players are happy,” Real told reporters. “With this score, all the players are going to have more security and improved mentality.”
When José Luis “El Chelís” Sánchez Solá was fired, the belief was that Chivas USA were waiting until the summer transfer window opened to make another push. They signed Carlos Bocanegra and brought talented forward Erick “Cubo” Torres from sister club CD Guadalajara. On Thursday, the club announced the signing of 20-year-old defender Jaime Frias Flores, also from Guadalajara.
“It feels like three points and we haven’t felt that in a while,” goalkeeper Dan Kennedy told reporters. “We’ve deserved it. We were so close to it in Montreal [last week] and that would have been a massive result. We’ve had so much change and transition this year, more than any other, but this team is still fighting and is still in it. Hopefully now we can build the confidence of this group and grind out some results.”
The Rojiblancos showed improvement on their recent 10-day, three-city road trip, earning draws at FC Dallas and Montreal before spoiling a second-half lead at Philadelphia. Still, they returned home with more confidence and it carried over against Toronto, who were mired in a slump of their own.
“It breaks the ice,” said midfielder Eric Avila, who was ejected in the 25th minute after receiving a straight red card for his tackle on Darel Russell. “We’ve been training and working really hard at staying compact as a team and it showed even more.”
Chivas USA trail eighth-place San Jose by seven points, but they’re optimistic that Wednesday’s victory will propel them to more success. The Goats have a bye this weekend before visiting the Seattle Sounders on July 28, their final match before the MLS All-Star break.
“Hopefully this can be a turning point for us,” Carlos Bocanegra said.