CARSON, Calif. – A disagreement cost Robin Fraser a game-and-a-half, and a misunderstanding cost him another match.
Out since halftime of Chivas USA’s 2-0 loss to San Jose on Sept. 15, Fraser will finally return to the bench and will fulfill his familiar gameday duties when Chivas host Real Salt Lake on Saturday (10:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
“I’m looking forward to it because this is why we all do this, we all do this to try to win,” Fraser told MLSsoccer.com. “Our backs are against the wall and we need to come out and have a good performance and certainly I want to be a part of it as we’ve gone through so much this year with this group.”
Sitting idly by and watching his team was difficult, Fraser said. And while assistant coach Greg Vanney filled in during his absence, not being there was something new and different for the former RSL assistant. Fraser was around the team in training sessions during the club’s two-game road swing through Columbus and D.C. United, however, and was still connected with the club before and after matches.
Still, not being with his team during games tore him apart inside.
“Extremely [difficult], especially at the point where we are now, points are so crucial, every game is so crucial,” Fraser said. “You want to feel like you can do everything possible to help and certainly it was disappointing to have missed another game.”
Initially sent off at halftime of the loss to San Jose, Fraser had disputed the call that led to San Jose’s penalty kick. The call was made not by referee Chris Penso but by the fourth official, and Fraser let Penso know his displeasure about it after the first half ended. Fraser was sent off for the remainder of that game, and consequently suspended for the team's next game in Columbus.
“I certainly had my opinions, and he made it clear that he didn’t want to hear them,” Fraser said.
Not being able to coach the team in Columbus was tough, particularly since the match was a tightly-contested affair not decided until the 89th minute. The day after, though, Fraser learned that he may not have met the terms of the suspension, and soon after it was extended.
“There was a miscommunication about what I could and couldn’t do during my suspension in Columbus," Fraser said, "and [the league’s] decision was that I had to serve another suspension."
When training resumed on Wednesday, it got underway with renewed focus and energy.
“You pick up where you left off and you do what you have to do. The suspension was what it was and we move on,” Fraser said. “I was with the team in training last week so that’s not all that different, but it was good to get back here and get on our field and talk about the things we want to do in preparation for this weekend.”
Luis Bueno covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.