CARSON, Calif. – Chivas USA head coach José Luis “Guero” Real arrived from Mexico following the firing of José Luis “El Chelís” Sánchez Solá, but the transition was anything but smooth, at least off the pitch.
At the time of Real’s arrival, the team was in the middle of preparing for their fourth-round matchup in the US Open Cup. Interim coach Sasha van der Most manned the sideline in that match, a 3-1 loss to the Carolina RailHawks. Then came Real’s introductory press conference, followed by a road trip to Vancouver.
To Real’s delight, the schedule returns to its normal flow this week.
“This is going to be my first week of normal work,” Real told reporters following the Goats’ 1-0 loss to the LA Galaxy over the weekend. “The last two weeks have been short due to a quick turnaround, which hasn’t allowed me to work normally. I’m sure with a normal week, we’ll be better.”
Real might want to savor the moment.
Chivas USA wrap up their month Saturday at home against former striker Juan Agudelo and the New England Revolution. Then, the schedule gets grueling, as four of the five matches in July are on the road against high-quality opponents. On the slate are the Montreal Impact and Philadelphia Union, who sit at No. 1 and No. 2 in the Eastern Conference standings, respectively. The Goats will also travel to FC Dallas, the No. 3 team in the West, and Seattle next month.
For that reason, improvements must arrive quickly for the reeling Rojiblancos.
“We’ve just got to be better individually and hold ourselves more accountable,” midfielder Tristan Bowen told MLSsoccer.com. “We didn’t have many opportunities on goal and that’s because we weren’t cleaning up certain plays.
“Everybody, at this point of the season, just has to be better. We just can’t let that happen anymore and there’s no more excuses for it.”
Players cited Real’s attention to detail as a reason for a more concentrated approach – something that might improve even more with a normal training week.
“He’s a very composed and methodical man,” goalkeeper Dan Kennedy said. “He’s done a lot of walk-throughs in terms of team organization and trying to get everybody on the same page.”
Said forward José Manuel Rivera: “We want to be more orderly under Guero, and we’re well on our way.”