Mired in a season-worst slump and season-long scoring drought, it would be understandable if Chivas USA walked into StubHub Center this weekend lacking confidence.
That’s far from the case, though.
The Rojiblancos have had success this year against the Vancouver Whitecaps, the team that rolls into town on a five-game unbeaten streak. They earned a draw against them in the second week of the season, and then pulled out a 3-1 victory at BC Place last month – which coincidentally also marks the last time the Whitecaps dropped points.
The Goats have not scored in nearly a month – a span of 276 game minutes – but that hasn’t deflated their outlook for Saturday night (10:30 pm ET, MLS Live, TSN in Canada).
“They’re a difficult team, one that is among the leaders, but we’ve won and know how to play against them,” forward Leandro Barrera told the club’s official website. “Hopefully everything turns out well and we can win.”
While the offense has struggled to generate dangerous scoring chances in recent weeks, a Carlos Bocanegra-less defense has not fared much better. Chivas USA have been scored on nine times during their four-game skid that has dropped them back into last place in the Western Conference standings, a point behind the San Jose Earthquakes and nine behind fifth-place Vancouver.
“We need to correct a few things from the last game,” defender Tony Lochhead said, referring to last week’s 2-0 loss to the Portland Timbers. “We didn’t start well in the first half against Portland, and we need to fix those things. Obviously, we’ve done well in the past [against Vancouver], but they’re on a bit of a roll right now, so we need to be careful. They have some pace up front, and they can hurt you. If we can close them down and keep a clean sheet this week, we’ll be good.”
- Get the latest Goats news at CDChivasUSA.com
Lochhead added that he and his teammates are aware that they need to turn their situation around quickly, and it could start this week by taking points from an opponent they’re chasing. The Goats will have to do it without Bocanegra, who again was listed as out on the injury report as he recovers from a July 20 concussion.
“We don’t think about what happened in the last game [in Vancouver],” head coach Wilmer Cabrera said. “We have to view what is in front of us. They just won their last game and they’re in a good run right now, and we need to come back and need to stop losing. That’s the main goal and mindset we have to have.”