CARSON, Calif. – Chivas USA may have recorded their first victory over the LA Galaxy since 2007 in the SuperClásico last week, but the road does not get any easier with a cross-country trip to face the white-hot New York Red Bulls Wednesday night (7 pm ET, Univision Deportes).
The Red Bulls match is the first in a daunting week that also includes a weekend fixture against the Seattle Sounders back at the Home Depot Center. The midweek match will be extremely taxing for the Rojiblancos as they prepare to face off against ex-Chivas defender Heath Pearce and a Red Bulls team that has won five straight matches.
Although the travel may be demanding, the Goats are out to show that the victory of the Galaxy was the start of long-term success.
“We can carry the momentum over into New York and do the same things that we did [in the SuperClásico] against New York,” defender Danny Califf said. “They’re a similar team and they’re a team that is very good at home with a very formidable test, then we come back home to Seattle, which is another big test. We have [a series of games] against good teams.”
Heading into his team's second of three matches in eight days, head coach Robin Fraser is likely to shuffle the starting XI ahead of the Red Bulls bout in order to keep players fresh before the international break.
“Without a doubt, you have to take some of these things into consideration,” Fraser said. “We’ll re-evaluate thoughts going into [Wednesday's match] and see where players are physically and try to be as smart as we can about balancing out the travel, fatigue, minutes played.”
One alteration that has already been made was up front, as newly-acquired forward Juan Agudelo – who started against the Galaxy – departed on Sunday to join the US national team camp in Orlando. With Agudelo out, forward Juan Pablo Ángel is one option after starting the last two matches on the bench. He has been dealing with concussion issues since the start of the season.
If Ángel participates, he’ll face off against a club with whom he enjoyed four highly successful years. The Colombian made 102 regular-season appearances for New York, scoring 58 goals. Although the match may be an emotional one for Ángel, the forward is focused on earning a victory.
“We knew that we had a very tough week ahead,” he said. “We have a very difficult game in New York and then on the weekend we play Seattle, which are two of the best teams of the league. We’ll see what happens, but we’re going with a great deal of confidence right now.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org