Los Angeles Soccer: Jhon Kennedy Hurtado

CHIVAS USA: Playoffs in sight for Goats

August, 12, 2011
In this rebuilding season for Chivas USA -- or as Robin Fraser put it a few months back, this “building” season -- nothing would confirm how far the Goats have advanced this season, how much work they've accomplished, how quickly they've turned things back to positive as well as a trip to the playoffs.

It's within reach. There are 11 games remaining on Chivas' schedule, and the club sits 10th overall in Major League Soccer, good enough to make the postseason (if the season ended now) but not nearly enough to relax. Houston is just a point behind, D.C. United is two back, Portland three and San Jose four.

A victory this afternoon at Seattle, a team certain to be in the mix when the playoffs begin at the end of October, would be a huge boost for the Goats (7-8-8), who are brimming with confidence after an eight-game span in which they've lost just once.

One eye, Fraser acknowledges, is on the standings.

“Remember early in the season? I said I don't watch [the standings] yet?” the Chivas head coach said Friday. “This time of year, absolutely [I do]. Absolutely. Because it's getting down to crunch time.

“For the early part of the year, our focus certainly was improvement and getting better on a daily basis, and that's still the focus, but now side by side with that and of equal importance are your results and your points that you're getting, so this time of year, you do pay attention. You pay attention a little more.”

Chivas needs one more win to match last year's total, and their 29 points already is one beyond what they amassed in 2010. It's enough for sixth place in the West, and catching the top five -- the Galaxy, FC Dallas, Seattle, Colorado and Real Salt Lake -- might be too tall a task. The top three in each division advance to the conference quartets, with the next four teams, regardless of conference, playing one-game qualifiers to join the brackets.

“I would love for us to be in the mix at the end, if you're top three, fantastic ...,” Fraser said. “For us, we're battling to get in at the moment, and every game is treated with that sort of importance and that sort of relevance. We're still focused very much on improving, but part of our improving is our ability to finish games and get results.”

Defender Heath Pearce doesn't need a table to know where the Goats stand.

“It would be a lie to say I don't look at all,” he said, “but I certainly don't spent much time paying attention to it, because we're at a point points-wise and with games left in the season, that it's all in our hands. Qualifying for the playoffs is going to be [determined by] what we do, not what others do.

“If we do what we're capable of and fulfill the potential that this team has, then the playoffs is a reality. And if we don't it will be because [we] falter.”

HEALTHIER SOUNDERS: Seattle (11-5-8) expects to welcome back central defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (sprained MCL) and forward O'Brian White (blood-clot surgery), which is only going to help one of MLS's deepest, most talented teams grow deeper and more talented.

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Galaxy-Sounders: Revenge talk's 'stupid'

October, 31, 2010

The Galaxy's dominance of its series with Seattle this season has some of the Sounders clamoring for revenge. Bruce Arena doesn't think a whole lot of that kind of talk.

L.A.'s 4-0 rout May 8 at Qwest Field was comprehensive. The 3-1 triumph July 4 at Home Depot Center was nearly as one-sided.

“I wanted L.A. from the beginning,” Sounders winger Steve Zakuani said earlier this week in The Seattle Times. “Of course, it's going to be very tough. They beat us twice in the regular season, but I think we owe them one, and we're ready.”

The Sounders of May and July bear little resemblance to today's team:
  • Gone is Swedish midfielder Freddie Ljungberg, sent to Chicago in a midseason trade after dividing the Sounders' locker room.

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