Confidence brewing for Chivas USA
After Chivas USA's first victory, the club appeared poised to make a charge up the Western Conference table.
After beating Real Salt Lake on May 7, Chivas USA closed to within one point of fourth place and had the two teams directly in front of them in the standings up next on the schedule.
But instead of building on that victory, the club fell apart. Chivas USA lost their next four matches and by the time the month was out had lost their coach as well.
So when the club beat Real Salt Lake 5-1 on Saturday for its second victory of the season, Chivas players were well aware of the potential long-term effects the victory could produce.
"It's something we could use as a stepping stone and go forward from here," Chivas striker Matt Taylor said. "We need to take the momentum from this game because this is a huge part of our season."
Wednesday, Chivas USA plays its first-ever U.S. Open Cup match, against the USL Second Division (third level) Charlotte Eagles. Saturday, the Red-and-White play the third Super Clasico against the Galaxy and then Chivas finishes the month with a home match against New England.
"Those are home games we desperately need to win," Taylor said.
For the short term at least, Saturday's victory will help.
"This gives us a big boost in our confidence and that's what we need right now," Francisco Gomez said. "This is good for us and hopefully we can carry it on for the Open Cup game and for the Galaxy."
Chivas USA has two more games at The Home Depot Center this month before hitting the road for the entire month of August. Although Saturday's match is technically a Galaxy home date, Chivas USA nevertheless will have four games in their stadium by the time the month is through. Picking up points against Real Salt Lake was crucial considering the July 2 loss to Chicago.
"We set into this home stretch for the month of July wanting 9-10 points and we're still in a position to get that," Ezra Hendrickson said. "We took care of business [Saturday], but that's just one game."
For Chivas to reach the nine-point mark, the club would need victories against both the Galaxy and New England. But with a huge shot of confidence from its five-goal outburst, a task which two weeks ago seemed insurmountable suddenly seems achievable.
"Hopefully we can come out with the same kind of intensity, the same kind of confidence that we did [against Real] come Saturday," Hendrickson said. "(Last Saturday) was one of those games where we just totally dominated. We are very confident. We know how to play."
After this weekend, Chivas has nine points, which is still the league's lowest point total. However, Chivas closed to within eight points of fourth-place Colorado and four back of fellow expansion brethren RSL.
"We're just about playing right now, getting better game by game and hopefully we can put ourselves in a position where we can come back after the All-Star break and make a push for the playoffs," Hendrickson said. "We still have two teams ahead of us."
Luis Bueno is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.