The goal for Chivas USA this preseason has been to trend upward on the field in preparation for their March 11 season opener against the Houston Dynamo (7 pm ET, Galavision). But on Sunday, with a week until First Kick, that trend scraped rock bottom.
The Rojiblancos were routed 5-0 by the San Jose Earthquakes in both teams' final match of the Portland Timbers Tournament, resigning the LA side to a 3-7-1 record this preseason – including just 1-4-1 against MLS competition.
After the trying defeat, head coach Robin Fraser was blunt with his assessment of his team’s performance.
“It was extremely poor and extremely disappointing,” Fraser told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Sunday evening. “It was disappointing because we have a number of things that we have to clean up in a week.”
Throughout the preseason, the focus for Chivas USA has been renewing a commitment to team defending and establishing a sense of composure for a side that struggled with both at times last year. Against San Jose, they once again fell short in both categories.
With the clock ticking ahead of their match against the Dynamo, the Rojiblancos must get right to work and tighten up the squad ahead of the season opener.
“Certainly we have ideas about things that we feel that we need to do to get the team ready to play on Sunday. That’s the goal and that’s the only goal, so we’ll do whatever it takes to get them ready for Sunday,” Fraser said of his training plans for the final week of preseason. “A lot of it comes down to team defending. When we’ve defended well, we’ve attacked well and we’ve played well. And when we don’t defend well, then the opposite is true.
“We have to look at our commitment level, our organization, our willingness to get into battles and to be able to fight through adversity. Tonight, we didn’t do that very well.”
Despite the loss, and even in the face of all the work that remains to be completed — be it roster moves or tactical decisions – Fraser believes he has seen many promising signs from his club this preseason.
“We’ve seen that we have the ability to be dangerous,” Fraser said. “We have some players who can be extremely difficult to deal with for opponents, but we’ve also seen that at times, we’ve been far too poor defensively. Some of that is concentration and commitment and these are all things that have to get better for us to have success.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
GET TICKETS to Chivas USA vs. Houston Dynamo, Sunday, March 11, 2012, 7 pm ET at The Home Depot Center. Watch it on Galavision.