Chivas USA netted the fewest goals in MLS in 2012. Under first-year coach Jose Luis Sanchez Sola, no club has scored more this season.
Chivas goes for its first three-game winning streak in four years Saturday night against the visiting Colorado Rapids, who look to extend their point streak in this series to nine.
Last season couldn’t have gone much worse for Chivas, which finished on a franchise-record 14-game winless streak and totaled 24 goals - 10 fewer than any other team. However, with Sanchez Sola replacing Robin Fraser, Chivas (3-1-1) has its swagger back.
The club’s 10 goals are tied with FC Dallas for most in MLS.
“Any team that wants to beat us, either here or on the road, has to run more than us,” Sanchez Sola told the team’s official website following a 2-1 victory over Vancouver on March 30. “If they don’t outrun us, it’s a guaranteed point for us. By what I’ve seen of these Chivas USA players, who fight and battle, the point is already assured.”
The Rapids have posted an 18-3 scoring edge in going 6-0-2 in the last eight games in the series. Colorado coach Oscar Pareja, however, knows this is a different Chivas side than the one Colorado went 2-0-1 against last year.
“(Chivas USA) is a team that has been transformed in its mentality,” Pareja told the team’s official website. “It seems now that everyone is under the same concepts and ideas that their coach has implemented. I can see a team that is pushing towards the same way. That’s difficult to play against.”
Colorado saw that up close in a 3-0 preseason loss to Chivas on Feb. 15.
The Rapids (1-3-2) defeated Real Salt Lake 1-0 last Saturday, though it was the fifth time this season that they managed one or no goals.
Atiba Harris scored his first goal with Colorado in the fifth minute and Clint Irwin earned his first MLS victory by making four saves, none bigger than the one on Alvaro Saborio’s first-half penalty shot.
“I think the fans can see that we’re trying hard, we’re really pushing, trying to put something good together,” said Irwin, who’s started the last three games with Matt Pickens injured. “It finally came together tonight.”
The Rapids’ defense could get a boost from the return of Drew Moor, who completed a two-game suspension for elbowing an opponent in the face in a 1-0 loss to Los Angeles on March 23. Colorado, though, is more in need of offense, and it will be facing a Chivas team that’s allowed one goal in each of the last four games.
Dan Kennedy has been in net each time.
“I’m obviously missing a shutout,” he told Chivas’ official website, “but, other than that, I don’t think we’re missing anything.”
Chivas last won three straight April 25-May 9, 2009.