CARSON, Calif. – It’s only two weeks into the 2011 campaign, but there is already a midseason urgency in the Chivas USA locker room.
After two disappointing defeats at home to Sporting Kansas City and the Colorado Rapids in which self-described “mental mistakes” were the difference, the Rojiblancos are eager for a way to show that they are better than their 0-2-0 record indicates.
Chivas will get their chance to test their meddle this week with a week long road trip. On Monday, the club departed for Portland where they will face the expansion Timbers in a mid-week US Open Cup play-in match. Then the Rojiblancos will travel to Canada to face Toronto FC on Saturday before finally returning to Southern California on Sunday.
“We’re at an important point for this team,” said Fraser. “We feel that over the last performances, we should have done better and we’ll see what our response is on Tuesday. Certainly for our confidence we need to come out and play well.”
[inline_node:331769]In addition to the defensive miscues, another issue for Chivas has been scoring – particularly from the forward spot, which has been unable to generate opportunities during the season. Last weekend vs. Colorado, Victor Estupinan struggled to assert himself in the attack while Justin Braun and Marcos Mondaini experienced similar difficulties. This struggle may cause Fraser to discard the single-forward formation, which had been the lineup of choice during the preseason.
One forward who did score is Alejandro Moreno, who netted for Venezuela in their friendly against Jamaica. He’ll be back from international duty for the league match against TFC.
In addition to Moreno, the club will welcome center backs Andy Boyens (New Zealand) and Michael Umana (Costa Rica) back from international duty in time for Saturday. Boyens, in fact, may be ready to line up alongside Jimmy Conrad on Tuesday with New Zealand having only one international match scheduled due to the cancellation of their game against Japan.
For Conrad, though, the main concern is up front. The veteran hopes that, sooner rather than later, someone will step up and score goals for Chivas USA.
“There’s a bit of a commitment issue there, guys want to score, but we have to need to score,” said Conrad. “There has to be some urgency there and some point, someone is going to have to step up to be that guy.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter: @adamserrano