Chivas USA defender Bobby Burling could be ready to make return against Portland

CARSON, Calif. -- Coming off a deflating rivalry loss and in need of a reinforcement or two, Chivas USA could be getting one of their experienced starters back this weekend for the road matchup against the Portland Timbers (Saturday, 10:30 pm ET, MLS Live).

Veteran defender Bobby Burling (shoulder) is listed as questionable on the injury report, but assistant coach Paul Caffrey told the 29-year-old center back appears ready to retake the field.

“Burling is good; he is available,” Caffrey said. “He’s got experience in the league and is an excellent defender. On set pieces, he dominates both defensively and offensively. He’s our starting center back. It would be great to have him back. At this point, for the first time since the start of the season, we are close to having our guys available.”

Burling has missed the previous three games after starting the first two, with Eriq Zavaleta, a former forward on loan from Seattle Sounders FC, filling in alongside Carlos Bocanegra in the Chivas USA back line. Left back Tony Lochhead (hamstring) and Oswaldo Minda (Achilles) are out for Saturday night's match, but they aren’t too far off from returning, according to Caffrey.

In the meantime, the Rojiblancos have set their focus on being more efficient offensively. Chivas USA didn’t record an on-target shot until the 81st minute last weekend in a 3-0 loss against the LA Galaxy.

“What we would like to do is make some clearer opportunities,” Caffrey said. “We have to take care of the ball better. With possession, we’ll create more clear opportunities. Obviously we would like to take advantage of those opportunities by getting shots on goal more frequently.”

Through the first five weeks of the season, the Goats (1-2-2) and Timbers (0-2-3) have each allowed 10 goals, the most in MLS.

Yet with a stinging defeat in the rearview mirror and the possibility of a starter returning to lineup, the concentration level might be exactly where Chivas USA need it to be heading into a difficult road environment.

“Anytime a team goes in [to Portland], it’s going to be difficult,” right back Eric Avila told “For us to bounce back, we need to put that LA game behind us. It wasn’t our best showing. We just had one of those bad days. [The Timbers] are trying to find their first win and we’re motivated not to give it to them.”