CARSON, Calif. – A steady downpour of wind and rain fell on Chivas USA on Wednesday morning in their first training session since being eliminated from postseason contention.
The Rojiblancos were officially eliminated on Tuesday night after the New York Red Bulls defeated the LA Galaxy 2-0. With the victory, New York moved to 43 points, one point higher than Chivas' potential points ceiling of 42, ending any possibility of playoff qualification.
“It seems appropriate,” head coach Robin Fraser said of the rain. “Where we go from here is that we continue to build, we have no excuses and we are where we are because we haven't executed well enough at various points of the season. So for us, it's time to focus on getting better and better.”
The failure to execute in key moments has been a common refrain through Fraser's first season as head coach. Whether it was the club's penchant for slow starts or a disappointing six losses at home – the most in MLS – the Rojiblancos understand that if they had shown more focus in those key moments, then they might be in the thick of the playoff race rather than contemplating their own elimination.
Well aware that their fate was sealed not because of misfortune but rather their own doing, the team admits that it's time to learn and put their past behind them as they look toward 2012.
“We're very sad because we been working really hard to try and make the playoffs and we all expected that we would do it,” said defender David Júnior Lopes. “It's difficult and unfortunate, but life goes on. You just have to keep working hard and try to move forward.”
Although Chivas will miss the postseason for the second straight year, they’re still focused on their next match, which happens to be against the Galaxy in the SuperClasico on Oct. 16. Victory against their arch rivals has been incredibly difficult to come by recently, with the club's last win against LA coming way back in September 2007.
Should Fraser's men find a way to defeat the Galaxy, it would offer a ray of sunlight amid the dreary weather that has come to symbolize their season’s denouement.
“There is no postseason and we will feel that sting and disappointment for awhile,” said Fraser. “But we have to prepare for a very important game in two weeks and that's our focus now.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.