CARSON, Calif. – With just 11 games to go in the 2010 MLS regular season, Chivas USA are desperate for every point they can get their hands on.
Currently sitting at the bottom of the Western Conference, the Goats need some good results over the course of the next two-and-a-half months if the team is going to make a fifth consecutive playoff appearance.
Standing in the Goats’ way this weekend is FC Dallas, a team that hasn’t lost a game since May 20.
“Sometimes I look at the schedule and I think we’re having a pretty tough time,” said Chivas USA midfielder Paulo Nagamura. “It’s always a team that is on a winning streak. But we have to get as many points as we can and it’s going to be another tough game. They’re playing well, but we’re playing better, too.”
Chivas USA have hit a run of good form lately, dropping only two matches in their last 11. Most recently, the team played to a tight 0-0 draw against Seattle last Saturday at the Home Depot Center.
“Despite the 0-0 tie we had last weekend, I think the team is playing better,” Nagamura said. “We’re doing better as a defense and hopefully we can have a good day in Dallas and try to sneak away with some points.”
Dallas have been a formidable foe at home. The team has lost just once at Pizza Hut Park all year and conceded just seven goals there in nine games. Add to that the sweltering heat of Texas, and Chivas USA’s road trip takes on a whole new level of difficulty.
“Sometimes the weather slows the game down,” Nagamura said of Dallas. “It’s not possible to play at a fast tempo in that kind of weather. It’s going to be the same for both teams. Maybe they’re used to it down there, but it’s pretty hot here in California, too.”
FCD have been led this year by standout midfielder and MVP candidate David Ferreira. The team has also gotten a boost from former Chivas USA man Atiba Harris, who has notched three goals and an assist for the Hoops in 2010.
“David Ferreira is doing really well for them this year,” Nagamura said. “They have a very solid back four and Atiba has been good, too. He’s playing very well this year. And of course, Jeff Cunningham is always a scoring threat. It’s going to be a tough one.”
While the trip is certainly an intimidating one, Chivas USA aren’t tucking their tail between their legs. The Goats are bristling with confidence and know they must get a result to keep their postseason hopes alive.
“We have to be concerned about our play and about our key players,” Nagamura said. “If we do, we’re heading in the right direction. If we do the things we have been doing in the past few weeks, I think we’re going to be OK.”