CARSON, Calif. – At the start of last week, Chivas USA players talked about a “make-or-break” stretch that consisted of four critical matches against Portland and the LA Galaxy.
While the club took down the Timbers on Wednesday, Saturday’s loss to the Galaxy was difficult – it hurt Chivas as much as it helped their rivals. Still, after that difficult setback, Chivas players don’t feel like their campaign is broken.
“We have to recover as soon as possible,” forward Juan Pablo Ángel said. “[Saturday’s match] wasn’t the game we were expecting to have but we have to get over it as soon as possible. There is plenty of season left and we’ve got to turn things around.”
The Goats sit on 23 points and when they visit Portland on Saturday (11 pm ET, watch LIVE online), success would give the club hope that a run to the playoffs could still be in the future. How they will manage to get out of JELD-WEN Field with three points, though, is likely contingent upon how the club approaches training this week.
HIGHLIGHTS: LA 3, CHV 1
“We have a full week here where we can kind of reflect a little bit, put in a good hard week of training and try and really correct some of the things we didn’t do right the last two games,” defender Danny Califf said.
The challenge, in other words, is to figure out how to maximize their efforts and eliminate the negatives that cost them points to begin with.
“We have to really take a look at these last two games,” Califf said, "really in-depth take a look at what we did well against Portland and how we came out, how we played, how we were sharp, how we put them under pressure, how we didn’t come out like that against Galaxy and what changes we need to make going forward."
The games could not have gone more differently. Chivas jumped out to a lead in the 16th minute against Portland while the Galaxy took an 11th-minute lead on Saturday. The Goats did not allow the Timbers to settle into an offensive rhythm while the Galaxy had plenty of time on the ball to do just that.
According to Califf, the games were a microcosm of their 2012 campaign.
“I think these last two games are pretty indicative of our season so far, kind of big swings up and down,” Califf said. “If we can take a look at that and man up to the mistakes that we made and take personal responsibility and then move forward with it in a positive way, we still have the season to play for."
Luis Bueno covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.