Three weeks into the season, Chivas USA has already faced substantial peaks and valleys. Now, the team must deal with some down time.
Chivas USA is one of four Major League Soccer clubs without a scheduled league match for this upcoming weekend. Regardless of what happened the week before, Chivas USA coaches and players all said they would have preferred to hit the field for a competitive match instead of a Saturday night off early in the season.
"I don't think it would be the choice of any of us," Chivas USA coach Bob Bradley said. "You want to settle into a season and find some rhythm but unfortunately the stadium availabilities dictate the schedule. The timing is a bit frustrating but there is nothing we can do about it."
Last week, however, was no ordinary match for the Red-and-White. Southland rival Los Angeles Galaxy handed Chivas a gut-wrenching 2-1 defeat in the first Súper Clásico of the season on April 15, with both Galaxy goals coming in the last 10 minutes of the match. After the game, midfielder Jesse Marsch said that painful memory was not going to be pleasant.
"Anytime you lose a bad game you want to start playing right away again," Marsch said. "Thinking about that for two weeks is going to [stink]."
The timing of the off-week will not affect the team's training routine. The coaching staff had planned to amplify the fitness portion of the training session regardless of the team's opponent or lack thereof.
"That actually works well but we'll try to keep the rest the same," Bradley said. "They had Sunday and Monday off and now we'll work hard through this week. Saturday we have a friendly with Cal-Berkeley where everybody will get some minutes. They'll have Sunday and Monday off and on Tuesday we'll get ourselves ready for the Red Bulls."
Chivas, in fact, has two games scheduled for this week. Wednesday, the club is scheduled to face San Diego State in a scrimmage. Saturday's morning scrimmage against the University of California will give the club the opportunity to keep players as match-fit as possible.
The club's next MLS match is scheduled for April 29 against New York Red Bulls at Home Depot Center. Not having a match on April 22 is less than ideal, Bradley said.
"It's ideal to play every Saturday night, one week home and one week away and just find that rhythm like that. That's what the schedules in Europe really are like," Bradley said. "MLS hasn't gotten to that point yet. Hopefully it will but in the meantime we'll just have to deal with the schedule how it's laid out."
Luis Bueno is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.