CARSON, Calif. — Chivas USA have packed their bags, and those bags are pretty full. The Rojiblancos start a grueling five-match roadtrip on Sunday against FC Dallas, a club that is currently third in the Western Conference standings.
The match arrives at a perfect time for the Goats. Chivas USA are currently coming off a convincing 3-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo, which extended a five-game unbeaten streak. Moreover, Dallas are fresh off participating in CONCACAF Champions League play in El Salvador.
“They’re one of the best teams in the league no question, they have a number of great players and they play well at home,” Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser told MLSsoccer.com. “It’s going to be a challenge, there’s no two ways about it, for us, we feel like we’re making improvements, but the tests will be in consistency.”
Against Dallas, Chivas USA will welcome back captain Alejandro Moreno from Copa America duty with Venezuela. Moreno’s ability to distribute the ball will be a boost to the Chivas USA attack as the club looks to crack a talented Dallas’ defense anchored by George John and Ugo Ihemelu. With Moreno opening up space for Justing Braun — who hit a hat trick against Houston — the Rojiblancos appear ready to test a heavy-legged Dallas.
“They’re a quality side, who has had a good run of form as of late, but we’re looking forward to going in there and getting three points,” said Braun. “We’re playing well too and we’re undefeated in six games so we need to carry that momentum and keep moving forward.”
One place that Chivas USA have displayed consistency this season has been on the road. With a 2-3-4 record away from the HDC, the Rojiblancos have never appeared daunted away from home. This competitiveness is likely to be tested during such a prolonged journey.
Their match at Pizza Hut Park is only the start of a demanding stretch that will see the Rojiblancos criss-cross the country to take on the New England Revolution, Seattle Sounders, Colorado Rapids and Portland Timbers. Chivas USA’s confidence away from home will come in handy as the club’s performance during a road trip that will determine whether or not Fraser’s men are in fact playoff contenders.
“It’s difficult and there will be a lot of travel, but the good thing about the road trip is that New England and Dallas are the longest ones and they’re right off the bat,” said Fraser. “Everything else is relatively close, you’re still not playing in your own environment or your own stadium, but if you’re going to have a five game road trip that’s probably as good as it can be.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @adamserrano