Despite losing streak, injuries, Chivas USA draw confidence from strong performance in last outing

CARSON, Calif. – Chivas USA captain Carlos Bocanegra is set to miss his third consecutive game this weekend as he recovers from a concussion, creating yet another obstacle for a last-place team that has dropped three straight.

But the absence of a respected veteran and the accompanying challenges haven’t completely wiped out their confidence, in large part because the Goats head into Saturday night’s game at Providence Park (10:30 pm ET; MLS Live) against the Portland Timbers sitting only seven points from a playoff spot in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.

“It’s a complicated situation, but not an impossible one,” midfielder Marvin Chavez told the club’s official website. “The group is working well and we’re aware that we haven’t gotten a result in the last three games, but the team is more motivated than ever. We’re working consciously and know we have a lot to improve as we search for positive results.”

Offering additional hope: the fact that the Rojiblancos showed very well in their previous trip to Providence Park in mid April when they walked off with a 1-1 draw. Though Saturday brings another stiff test coming off a loss at home last week to FC Dallas, players and coaches alike were generally pleased with their performance.

“We lost the last game, but we didn’t play bad. We played well, actually,” head coach Wilmer Cabrera said. “We moved the ball better than we used to, and we had better possession and passing accuracy.

“Now we have to understand we have to put the ball in the net and help our top goal scorer [Erick Torres] by serving better balls. And if he is marked, someone has to be a good alternative.”

Chivas USA, who have been shut out in two consecutive games, on Friday announced the acquisition of forward Luis Bolaños on loan from Ecuadorian side Liga Deportiva Universitaria de Quito, but it was unclear when he would be eligible to take the field pending the receipt of his international transfer certificate.

Regardless of who is available, the Goats know their belief will continue to be a major component.

“In the second half of the season, this is when you see a lot of big players and big teams step up,” defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste said. “They show you why they are the teams they are in this league. This second half is not going to be easy, but if we get these three points, playoffs are definitely a possibility. That’s something everyone in this organization would like to see.”