May is not shaping up to be an easy month for Chivas USA.
The Red-and-White will play six matches in the next four weeks, including tough road games at Chicago, New England, Columbus and D.C. United. And while the team is certainly riding high after Saturday’s victory over San Jose, they know that tough times lie ahead.
“We have two games back to back on the road before we come home,” said midfielder Michael Lahoud. “We’re looking to get the maximum points. Any game we go into, we have to adopt the attitude that we’re confident in our preparation and we can win. So another good week of training is what we look forward to before trying to get some tough results on the road.”
By most accounts, Chivas USA were excellent against San Jose on Saturday. The Red-and-White defense was tough to play through, and the attack finally seemed to have the luster that new head coach Martín Vásquez had promised upon his arrival.
All that being said, the Goats are anything but complacent this week as they prepare for Chicago.
“We are still looking for more,” said Vásquez after the game against the Quakes. “We want to maintain our form for longer periods of the game, and improve our rhythm and tempo. We’d like to work towards getting shutouts as well.”
A major boost for the Red-and-White last weekend was the emergence of an energetic offense that scored three goals in one game for the first time since October 2008. Maintaining that fluid attack in the month of May will certainly be a priority for the Goats.
“Obviously offense was something that we wanted to work on coming into this year,” Lahoud said. “It comes back to that mentality; if you don’t shoot, you don’t score. We just have to have an opportunistic mentality from now on. Because some days, one little deflection or one attempted shot from an impossible angle makes the difference. Hopefully we’re the team taking those risks.”
Beyond maintaining its offense, Chivas USA also have their sights set on winning big games. Last year, the club went 1-7-1 against the four teams that finished in the top two in each conference (Columbus and Chicago in the East, Los Angeles and Houston in the West). With losses already to Los Angeles and Houston in 2010, the Goats are eager for the impending away games at Chicago and Columbus as a chance for some giant-killing.
“Our mind set is to beat those big teams,” Lahoud said. “We have to adopt the mindset that we can play with, and beat, anybody. I think that consistency is our next biggest step.”
The Red-and-White kick off their busy month against Chicago this Saturday at Toyota Park.