FULLERTON, Calif. – With an unforgiving four-games-in-11-days stretch in the books, Chivas USA are finally taking a breather. They’ll enjoy their current bye week this weekend as they approach a series of games that may define their season.
The rest is vital for the club as they prepare for a July that will see them play in the US Open Cup semifinals against the Seattle Sounders on July 11, as well as four league games against Western Conference opponents that could kick-start a rise up the table.
“The rest is nice, towards the end of the game [against Charlotte] I was feeling a bit tired and caught myself cheating a bit,” defender Rauwshan McKenzie told MLSsoccer.com after Tuesday's USOC quarterfinal win over their third-division foes. “It’s nice to get a couple days off and rejuvenate for the league games.”
While most players are using the week off to re-charge their batteries, McKenzie’s central defensive partner Danny Califf intends to use it as family time. Since being dealt from the Philadelphia Union on May 17, Califf has attempted to make arrangements to move his family back to their home in Southern California and the week off offers him a chance to make the necessary preparations.
“It’s going to be great,” an excited Califf told reporters on Tuesday. “I’m going to get to see my family for the first time in a month so it’s going to be much needed rest, and it’s going to be also mental rejuvenation.”
And that rejuvenation will come in handy for everyone, according to right back James Riley. Like McKenzie and Califf he played every minute in the recent stretch, and he’s determined to come out of this mini-break fully fit and ready for the summer’s packed slate.
“Once you get into the grind, it is good and it’s always good to get results, but [the rest] is part of the territory,” Riley told MLSsoccer.com. “Obviously, we’ll look to take care of our bodies and we know that this tournament is a marathon not sprint so we want to keep guys healthy and able to perform at a high level.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.