CARSON, Calif. — Chivas USA are hoping to start the month of July off on the right foot against the Chicago Fire on Saturday night (10 pm ET, Galavisión).
The Rojiblancos’ date with Fire is the start of a July where they’ll play four matches at home. That stretch couldn’t have come at a better time for a team that has lost three straight games.
"It's a big game for us,” said forward Justin Braun. “We've lost three in a row so we want to get three points. If we don't, then it's going to be a huge disappointment. We need to keep fighting and hopefully we'll be able to get the result."
Earning the result will be difficult as the Chicago Fire are currently unbeaten in their last seven matches and have lost but once in ten games. Key to the Fire’s sudden rise has been the appointment of Frank Klopas as head coach after the removal of former boss Carlos de los Cobos.
Under Klopas, the Fire have developed a lock-down defense that has been key to their recent run of form. They’re still rounding into shape offensively, but showed signs of life midweek in a US Open Cup win.
Chivas USA’s own boss had nothing but praise for Klopas and the Fire.
"Chicago seems rejuvenated, out from the old regime and into the new,” head coach Robin Fraser told MLSsoccer.com. “They're playing with a great deal of enthusiasm and this is a team with a lot of good talent. I think [Patrick] Nyarko and [Marco] Pappa are two of the more promising young players in the league and they seem to cause trouble where ever they are. They have a number of solid players, but they have a good young core of players as well."
With the Fire having been strong as of late, Chivas USA are looking to correct their own errors in order to get their third victory at the Home Depot Center this season.
“We’ve given up a lot of leads and have played in a lot of games where we should have earned points, but instead got losses,” said Braun. “Mental mistakes are killing us; we’ve having too many lapses where teams are taking advantage of our mistakes by creating chances and even scoring goals. We need to get back to being strong defensively and tight as a group.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @adamserrano