CARSON, Calif. — The last time Chivas USA faced San Jose two weeks ago, the high-flying Earthquakes smacked them around and won going away by a 4-0 count.
But Chivas' players don’t feel as if the scoreline was accurate, and are bent on putting together a better performance against the same Quakes squad when they visit The Home Depot Center on Saturday (10:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
“They had three goals on set pieces and that will never happen again, no matter how bad we play,” Chivas USA’s Shalrie Joseph told MLSsoccer.com. “Even [goalkeeper Dan Kennedy] will tell you that. We wouldn’t give up three goals like that for the rest of the year.”
San Jose took advantage of three set-piece opportunities to put away three of their four goals on the Goats. Two came late and helped double the lead and made a bad game uglier for Chivas.
But the Rojiblancos learned from their lessons in a similar situation. Seattle handed them a 6-2 loss on Aug. 25, but they improved in a rematch in Seattle a week ago but came up short 2-1. Chivas players are hopeful that an improved effort means a positive result this time around.
“We’re going to have to show what we’re made of,” Joseph said. “There’s a lot of characters on this team, a lot of guys who have great heart, great belief. We’re going to have to bring that on Saturday, the best team in the West.”
Chivas USA still hold the belief that their season is not a lost cause and still talk about the postseason as an attainable goal. Perhaps the standings tell a different story, but that belief comes from solid training sessions and the players’ faith in one another.
“It is our job to be ready to play on Saturday,” forward Alejandro Moreno said. “We have to find within ourselves the things we feel comfortable doing and the things that make us a good team. We like to tell ourselves that we are a good team but in order to do that we have to do it with consistency on the field and we have to show it every Saturday.”
If nothing else, Saturday will show Chivas what can happen in a rather short amount of time. San Jose missed the postseason in 2011 but now are top of the table, battling for the Supporters’ Shield and the first time to book a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
“We’re not trying to look forward to next season,” Joseph said, “but with San Jose, they turned it around and we can turn it around in a game. That’s what the MLS is about, one game, every team can beat each other. If you can get on the right track, if you can get a couple of bounces here and there, you can make a difference and that team can make a push for the playoffs and that’s what we’re hoping for.”
Luis Bueno covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.