CARSON, Calif. – For Danny Califf, one of the biggest motivators heading into Wednesday’s match in Vancouver (10 pm ET, watch LIVE online) is to not become the worst of the worst.
Having sunk to the abyss of MLS, there are still depths to reach should Chivas USA lose to the Whitecaps. A loss and the club record for consecutive losses would be set at seven, breaking a two-year-old mark and setting this season apart as the possibly the worst season in club history.
“There’s a lot of reasons to want to win and certainly that’s one of them,” Califf said. “That would be pretty embarrassing to be on the team that set the longest winless streak, not even winless streak – losing streak.”
Hopes of improving upon last season were high coming into 2012, and Califf’s arrival in mid-May seemed to boost the club’s chances. After a promising start, though, Califf’s time with the Rojiblancos has been filled with despair and dismay.
“It’s been a career’s worth of frustrating moments and disappointing moments in three-quarters of a season, or even half a season," Califf said. "I can’t even really describe how disappointing and embarrassed and just plain [ticked] off about the way things have gone.”
Perhaps the rapidity in which the losses have come has made it more jarring for Califf to take.
Califf has tasted success before. He’s won MLS Cup (with the LA Galaxy in 2002), the US Open Cup (scored the winning goal for the Galaxy in 2001) and even won the Danish Superliga (with Aalborg in 2007-08). Even in his limited time with the US national team, Califf has won a pair of Gold Cups (2002, 2005).
When he returned to MLS after three years in Denmark, Califf did so with the Philadelphia Union. And while struggling with a new franchise and dealing with former manager Peter Nowak’s downward spiral was trying, Chivas’ current run is more so.
A loss in Canada would ensure that continues.
“The pressure is there to win bad enough and now we’re going to feel like an even bigger loser,” Califf said. “This is our livelihood. Certainly we take this very seriously and to go this long without tasting that victory is one of the hardest things I’ve ever, I’ve never been a part of something like this. This really sucks. It’s hard to swallow.”
Luis Bueno covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.