CARSON, Calif. – With goals hard to come by this season, it appears that Chivas USA would pounce on any glimmer of hope.
Paolo Cardozo provided such a glimmer against the LA Galaxy a week ago, but will that translate into more opportunities for the second-year midfielder? Perhaps. But whether he finds himself in the starting lineup or on the bench is not keeping him up at night.
“I work hard week in and week out and that’s the last thing I think about,” Cardozo told MLSsoccer.com. “I just always try to think of the next game, stay calm and keep working.”
The soft-spoken Cardozo said he will worry about what he can control, and lately he has been controlling the Rojiblancos’ attack. He was lively and active when he started against Portland on July 18 and helped generate offense during his time on the field.
WATCH: Cardozo pulls one back for Chivas USA
Against the Galaxy, Cardozo started on the bench but came on at the intermission and provided a much-needed spark.
“Paolo brought us some life in the middle part of the field as a result, he obviously scored a goal was involved in a number of good attacks going forward,” head coach Robin Fraser said.
His goal was ultimately not enough, but revealed what Cardozo is capable of producing. Whether his lively effort translates into another starting opportunity in Saturday’s match at Portland (11 pm ET, watch LIVE online) remains to be seen.
GETTING A CONVICTION
Chivas USA’s last two matches have shown both the good and bad of the club’s offense.
The good, an early strike against Portland, helped gain three points. The bad, little response to the Galaxy’s attack, led to a difficult loss. Which team shows up against Portland on Saturday will depend on the manner in which the club takes the field.
“We just have to continue to play with conviction,” Fraser said. “When we play with conviction we are very good. When we play with slightly less confidence we’re not as good.”
The club has scored just 12 goals in 18 games this season, easily the worst scoring rate in MLS. But the team has hope that things will continue to get better. Playing with urgency has helped – Chivas players pointed to that as a key factor in the win against Portland last Wednesday. With every game seemingly having a major impact on the Western Conference table, every goal counts.
Although, the problem lately has not necessarily been a total lack of ideas going forward. Rather, it’s having that confidence necessary to see their plays through.
“It’s frustrating [because] we know we have to execute,” Fraser said. “We have to do a better job executing in front of our goal and we have to do a better job executing in front of their goal.”
And even though Chivas could not come all the way back against the Galaxy on Saturday, the effort was not a complete loss.
“What it does to do for us is that it’s something we can tangibly show that when we do connect, when we do connect through the midfield, when we do switch ball, that we are dangerous,” Fraser said.
Luis Bueno covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.