CARSON, Calif. – If Chivas USA had not stumbled so badly against the LA Galaxy last time out, a humiliating 4-0 loss, they would not be in their current predicament.
Yes, they'd still be on the outside of the playoff race looking in. A win would have put them just four points behind their neighbors with four games in hand. Instead, they're now 11 back heading into Saturday’s match at Colorado (9 pm ET, watch LIVE online). Which makes it a must-win, no questions asked.
“In this profession, you have to lift your head up as quickly as possible and leave everything that happened before in the past,” Chivas forward Juan Pablo Ángel said. “This is where we have to show our character. We have a difficult match against a conference rival and we need to go there ready to fight and get a result.”
The postseason is not out of reach just yet, but players said the urgency to get results exists as well as the desire to show their true face is also there.
WATCH: Chivas USA discuss match with Colorado
Dealing with the Rapids and the Colorado altitude may not be the simplest of tasks, but it’s a chance to forget about what happened and move forward.
“[It's] a loss that obviously nobody wants to remember but we all have to," Chivas coach Robin Fraser said. "[The Colorado match is] an opportunity to go out and show who we are and how we bounce back from that."
Another thing going for Chivas is the schedule. The team has had anything but a regular schedule – they've played just five regular-season games since June 23. That will change soon, however. The club’s next weekend off will not be until Oct. 14 as they make up those games in hand.
And it's a good thing – more games means less opportunity to think about bad losses.
“You just have to have a short memory to be honest,” Chivas defender James Riley said. “The games are coming so quickly now, you don’t have time to linger on one certain match. We’ve learned from it, we’ve watched some tape, guys have gone over it on their own and then guys look to get better.”
Added Ángel: “The chances are there but this is about winning games. This sport is about winning, getting results and improving. If we don’t do that, obviously our chances will continue to slip away so this weekend is the start of perhaps the last stretch for us.”
Luis Bueno covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.