Chivas in playoff contention? You bet they are
Before June 8, this year’s campaign for Chivas USA (6-7-5) looked to be another run of the mill last place finish for the Goats.
It was going to be just another season gone to waste for Chivas as they were expected to once again reprise the role as the doormats of the MLS.
Amazing how a change in ownership can turn the fortunes of a lifeless franchise around.
Since the Goats’ back-to-back shutout losses to Portland Timbers (5/28) and Philadelphia Union (5/31) while being outscored 5-0 combined in both matches, Chivas USA has been one of the hottest teams in the league going 4-0-1 in their last five, including a four-game win streak to match their best streak in club history (9/20/08-10/11/08).
Not only have the Goats climbed themselves out of their familiar cellar, they are seven points up on the San Jose Earthquakes and have also put themselves right in the mix of the playoff picture.
Just three points separates the Goats and the Vancouver White Caps, currently in seventh place (26 points).
A win Sunday over D.C. United could put Chivas within one point of the final playoff spot currently held by the Colorado Rapids (27 points).
However, the task of beating D.C. will not be a walk in the park. D.C. currently trails Sporting Kansas City (who defeated the Los Angeles Galaxy 3-2 Saturday afternoon) by one point for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
And while Chivas has their sights set on that final playoff spot, the first step is getting through RFK Memorial Field in Washington D.C, against a D.C outfit ****-bent on being the top dog of the East.
In 16 all-time matches, D.C. holds the edge over the Goats with an 8-5-3 record.
In three of the four consecutive wins, the Goats rang three-consecutive clean sheets, all by a final of 1-0.
The shutout streak ended at 352 minutes after Vancouver scored in the 27′ of the Goats’ 3-1 win — the second longest shutout streak in their 10-year existence.
Things are starting to roll for the Goats who are doing it on both sides of the ball. Defensively, they’ve only allowed two goals since June 8 and offensively the anchor of their current run goes to Erick Torres.
Torres (right) has scored in five consecutive games, including four-consecutive game winning goals.
Without the efforts of Torres, we could be talking about an entirely different team. But sometimes all it takes is one player to make the difference and once the team is rolling, the domino effect falls into place.
The MLS record for consecutive games with a goal is seven. With Torres approaching a record only held by three others in MLS history, it could be subliminal for all the good that’s fallen into the lap of of head coach Wilmer Cabrera and his Chivas club.
The Goats are now out of the mud and are very much alive in reaching the postseason, but as quickly as the season has turned around for the good is as quickly it can easily fall apart.
Chivas USA simply cannot get ahead of themselves. Time will tell whether the Goats can finally break through their several misfortunes and find the promise land.