Chivas returns home to tangle with FCD

Carson, CA ( - Chivas USA returns to the StubHub Center on Sunday after a three-game road trip to take on Western Conference foe FC Dallas.

The Goats finished the trip with back-to-back losses after winning the first game at Vancouver, but head coach Wilmer Cabrera has been pleased with how his team has responded in practice this week.

"The players have been responding very well," said Cabrera. "We have been watching video and reviewing the game we played this past weekend. We didn't play very well, especially during the first half. We need to make sure we learn from our mistakes from last week, at the same time we prepare ourselves to face this new challenge at home."

Chivas fell behind 2-0 in the opening 26 minutes at Colorado last Friday and was never able to recover as the Rapids Gabriel Torres added a third goal with 16 minutes to play.

The result leaves Chivas second from the bottom in the Western Conference and seven points out of a spot in the playoffs, and midfielder Agustin Pellerieri is hopeful his team can put that result in the past and focus on claiming three important points against Dallas on Sunday.

"Just like when we win, we can't spend much time in the victory, and this is a similar case. When you lose, the next game is the most important and for us it's like that, because if we win, we would continue to be close and with a good amount of points. The team can achieve more, but we need to improve," Pelletieri said.

Chivas should have its hands full on Sunday with a Dallas side that is riding a six-game unbeaten streak after a 2-2 draw with Vancouver last Sunday.

FCD took a 2-1 lead into halftime in that match through goals from Blas Perez and Michel 10 minutes apart, but a 53rd-minute equalizer from the Whitecaps Pedro Morales forced Dallas to settle for a point.

Oscar Pareja's team is in good form, but the side will be adjusting to a new permanent captain in Matt Hedges after former skipper Andrew Jacobson was traded to New York City FC this past week.

Jacobson was handed the captain's armband by Pareja at the start of the season, yet he suffered an injury early in the campaign that forced Hedges to step in and take over the role.

And now with Jacobson gone, Hedges knows that this is his team to lead.

"It means a lot to me," Hedges said of taking over the captain's armband. "It took a lot of faith for Oscar to put me in this position and I'm excited and ready to lead the team for the rest of the year."

Dallas will be playing in the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup in less than two weeks, and it would be quite an accomplishment if Hedges was able to help deliver a trophy to the club for the first time since 1997.

But up first is a clash with Chivas that is important in a tight Western Conference, where Dallas finds itself in the thick of a close playoff race.