Chivas USA's Wilmer Cabrera says addition of new players creating atmosphere of competition
When head coach Wilmer Cabrera hinted a couple weeks back that Chivas USA would look to add some pieces for the stretch run, a subsequent departure by leading assist man Mauro Rosales would have probably been at the bottom of the list of possibilities.
Yet, the Rojiblancos shipped away their prized offseason acquisition and his team-high eight assists to the Vancouver Whitecaps in exchange for midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker and also brought in defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, giving Cabrera a couple more reinforcements to play with as his side look to dig out of last place in the Western Conference.
Ten games remain – including a SuperClasico against the LA Galaxy on Sunday (8 pm ET; UDN), the final rivalry showdown before the looming brand change – and Chivas USA sit nine points from the fifth and final playoff spot.
Adding the aforementioned players, plus the inclusion of forward Félix Borja, has at least raised the intensity in training, which Cabrera hopes leads to results. The constant flux is nothing new, of course – there are 10 players on the Chivas USA roster that were not part of the organization when the season kicked off.
“The team and players, they feel like we’re bringing in guys that can help us in different positions,” Cabrera told reporters. “They’re very good, talented players, and now the competition and our level of play has to be better. That is all in place and, hopefully, we can reflect that on the field.”
The Goats’ offensive struggles have been well documented by now, with their scoreless drought reaching 456 consecutive minutes last weekend following a road loss against the New England Revolution. Their last goal came on July 20, which kicked off their current five-game winless streak.
But with Borja showing flashes of creativity up top, and the imminent integration of Reo-Coker, there is optimism in the Chivas USA locker room heading into the matchup against the potent Galaxy.
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“Maybe we’ve had a couple inconsistent performances in there, but if you look at the New England game [last week], we actually played well,” goalkeeper Dan Kennedy told reporters. “We created numerous opportunities. We just have to keep plugging away with what we’ve been doing.”
Reo-Coker had two assists in 12 appearances with the Whitecaps, while Hurtado had a goal in 19 games for the Chicago Fire.
“With Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Nigel showing up, they can give us that boost and push we need,” Kennedy said.