Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com
By ADAM SERRANO
The season has not started the way that Chivas USA hoped. With a 1-3-0 record and only two goals scored, this was not the way that Martin Vasquez wanted to start his tenure with Chivas USA.
Coming off the club's worse loss of the young season, a 3-0 defeat on the road to the Houston Dynamo, many teams would consider hitting the panic button, yet despite the start, Vasquez and his club remain confident that their best days are ahead.
"I don't feel pressure, I know what can happen, but if I feel pressure then I won't be able to focus on what we need to fix, said Vasquez. "I understand the nature of the beast and that's very clear as I've been around a long time as a player and now as a coach, but there is no pressure."
While many first year coaches may find solace in the fact that the season is only four games in for the Los Angeles outfit, Vasquez has remained honest that Chivas has a number of problems to address and must realize that work needs to be done to get the team back into the playoffs.
"We have to be objective and raise our hands and be accountable instead of giving up excuses," said Vasquez. “We just need to get down to work in preparation for this week and otherwise there isn't much to say.”
One aspect of Chivas USA that has gotten a great amount of scrutiny has been the play of the Chivas USA midfield, particularly in terms of the physicality of the game. Lacking the bite of the departed Jesse Marsch and Paulo Nagamura, the club has suffered against physical teams that seek to overpower the Rojiblancos in the midfield. Against the Dynamo, Chivas appeared tentative going forward as the club was unable to generate offense at Robertson Stadium. For veteran Mariano Trujillo, it is up to the club's younger players to pick up the intensity.
"Jesse and Paulo were important players for us, but we have young players who are spending time developing the same skills," said Trujillo. "We have the heart and I think we have the aggressiveness, we just need to put together a performance as a team."
Perhaps what makes the Rojiblancos' run of poor form perplexing has been their play on the training ground. Over the past few weeks, the club has appeared very confident after their training sessions, but has been unable to convert this performance to the real matches. Co-captain Jonathan Bornstein understands that the club must make changes if the club is going to get back on the right track.
"I believe that in training, we play harder against ourselves than we do in the games on Saturday's," said Bornstein. "The mentality is being instilled that you can train as hard as you want, but if you're not doing it in the actual games then you're not doing your job."
Chivas USA faces a big test on Saturday against the surging San Jose Earthquakes, a club that has won its last two matches and is over .500 for the first time since returning the league. Although it may appear that the matchup is of two teams moving in two very different directions, the Rojiblancos can take solace in knowing that since the Earthquakes rebirth in 2008, San Jose is winless against Chivas with a 0-2-2 record.