Revenge isn’t on Chivas USA’s mind when they face off against D.C. United on Wednesday (7:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online). They're simply focused on surviving.
In the midst of a four-game winless streak, Chivas find themselves playing for their season in every match. Without a win since May, Chivas sit 13th in the playoff standings, five points out of a playoff spot. In their last match against DC on Sept. 10, they were handed their largest margin of defeat this season, a 3-0 loss.
The loss was a gut punch for the Rojiblancos’ playoff hopes, but the club understands that it was a game that they must learn from in order to break out of their slide.
“In that game, we got caught on counterattacks, so we worked a lot during the week to deal with those situations and learn from those mistakes,” midfielder Blair Gavin said. “It's nice because we played them two games ago and we still have that taste in our mouth. We're looking to rectify that result, and it starts [Wednesday] and how we start, and it carries through the rest of the game.”
In the lead-up to the DC match, the Goats have placed their focus on correcting the mistakes that plagued them during their losing streak. Poor marking on set-pieces and disastrous turnovers in bad spots and have all haunted them during their recent slip.
What is most troubling, though, is that these issues have repeated themselves over and over again. While the task of solving these problems may seem difficult, for Gavin, the answer is simple: Chivas USA just need a little courage.
“People may make mistakes and not want the ball or shy away from it, but everyone just needs to be confident,” he said. “We've possessed against the best teams in MLS and I think that we're one of the best possession teams. We just need to keep focusing on that.”
The match against DC is the final match for the Rojiblancos away from the Home Depot Center. Following their game at RFK Stadium, Chivas face four straight matches in Carson, including one “road” leg of the SuperClasico against the LA Galaxy.
Needing to run the table to make the playoffs, Chivas USA are optimistic that a turnaround can happen in the closing weeks.
"We're now in a position where we have nothing to lose,” goalkeeper Dan Kennedy told MLSsoccer.com. “In the last four games, we've put ourselves in a hole and it's up to us to decide what we want to do with it. We've got five games in front of us, knowing that this is our last game outside the Home Depot Center at DC. We just need to go out there and play freely."
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.