Both these teams appear likely to miss the playoffs heading into Saturday night’s matchup at the Home Depot Center, although Toronto has a bigger game looming.
Chivas USA (7-12-11) is five points shy of a playoff spot, but the three teams ahead of it all have played fewer matches. Toronto FC (6-12-12), meanwhile, owns the league’s worst goal differential at minus-20, and will likely have to look to next season for its first-ever postseason berth.
Toronto, however, has a visit from Mexican powerhouse Pumas set for Tuesday in the CONCACAF Champions League. The club still has a chance to advance in that competition, yet coach Aron Winter insists he is focused on this trip to the West Coast.
“Now I’m not thinking about the game for next week,” Winter told Toronto’s official website. “I’m not going to look two and three games forward - always the next game, and it’s Chivas.”
The travel in MLS has been difficult to adapt to for some of Toronto’s veterans from Europe, including German captain Torsten Frings and Dutch forward Danny Koevermans.
“It is difficult,” Koevermans said. “You’re not used to it. As a European player, the farthest you can go with a plane is maybe three hours and that’s it.”
Chivas has returned home after a 2-2 draw at D.C. on Wednesday in which Dan Kennedy saved a penalty kick in stoppage time. That ended a four-game slide, although Chivas is still winless in seven (0-4-3).
“We did a lot of things well, we played very positively, we were able to create some chances, and then we make a big save at the end to at least walk out with a point,” coach Robin Fraser said. “So, certainly the overall feeling walking out is that we gave a good account of ourselves.”
Juan Pablo Angel scored twice to rally Chivas from a two-goal deficit. He has four goals in five games since he was acquired from archrival Los Angeles.
“It’s been a bit of a difficult time for us,” Angel said. “We haven’t been playing the greatest football lately.”
Like Angel, Koevermans has three goals in two games after he scored twice in Toronto’s 2-1 win over Colorado last Saturday. Toronto has won consecutive MLS matches for the first time this year.
“We’re still rebuilding,” Winter said. “And I like it because, in the beginning of the league, there were also some moments and periods where we were playing well but we didn’t win the games. Now, the last games, we are making a very huge improvement.”
Chivas held a 14-8 advantage in shots in a 1-1 draw at Toronto on April 2.