For Chivas USA, Wednesday night’s clash with the San Jose Earthquakes isn’t about standings – the Goats have already been eliminated from the 2010 postseason.
It’s about pride.
The Red-and-White have yet to lose to San Jose since the Quakes rejoined the league in 2008, and have no intention of breaking that streak.
“We’re looking to have a good game against San Jose,” Chivas USA defender Mariano Trujillo told MLSsoccer.com after training on Tuesday. “Buck Shaw is a hard stadium to play at, but Chivas have enjoyed good results there. We’re looking for a win.”
The Goats have racked up an impressive 4-0-2 record against San Jose since 2008 and have earned 1-0 victories in each of the their last two visits to Buck Shaw Stadium. However, that doesn’t mean Chivas USA are underestimating the difficulty of the trip.
“The environment is always good there,” said Trujillo. “San Jose’s supporters come out and cheer on their team. We’re expecting that on Wednesday. But on the field it’s always the same: 11 vs. 11.”
San Jose have enjoyed a great year, thanks in large part to the breakout play of striker Chris Wondolowski. The 27-year-old is second in the MLS Golden Boot standings with 14 notches and has been unstoppable in front of net.
“Wondolowski is a dangerous player with a lot of mobility,” Trujillo said. “He’s always looking to create chances. For us, the task is going keeping the ball away from him. He’s dangerous with the ball on his feet, but if we can stop his midfielders from getting him the ball, we’ll be cutting his influence.”
Wednesday’s match will see Chivas USA without the services of striker Alan Gordon, who is still serving a two-match ban for a dangerous tackle on Toronto FC’s Adrian Cann. Justin Braun looks set to return, however, after sustaining a mild concussion in the same match.
“I am feeling better and will be traveling to San Jose,” Braun said. “Hopefully I’ll get some time.”
With just two matches left to play in the 2010 regular season, the Red-and-White are looking to build a strong foundation for the 2011 season. Head coach Martín Vásquez is adamant about his desire to get results in the team’s final matches, and the team is just as committed as the coach.
“Our supporters deserve a strong effort from us and that’s what we’re going to give,” Trujillo said. “We’re in a complicated place because we’re out of the playoffs, so the energy is bound to fall just a little. But we’re going to enter Wednesday’s game with a positive attitude and a desire to win.”