Carson, CA – Chivas USA sits just six points off the bottom of the Western Conference, but it may be in the best position of any team not in the top five to move into a postseason spot.
Chivas has played the fewest matches in the West, and is tied for the fewest played in MLS, and needs to overcome a 10-point deficit over the remainder of the season to secure a top-five finish and a playoff berth.
With at least two matches in hand on every team in the Western Conference, and as many as five, a late run could propel the club into the second season.
First, Chivas USA (7-9-6) needs to start securing points at home, beginning on Saturday when it hosts Seattle Sounders FC (11-6-7) at The Home Depot Center.
Chivas has accumulated just 11 points at home this season, and with five games remaining at home, will need to earn as many points as possible to extend its season.
Coach Robin Fraser made a number of changes to the lineup last week to produce a 1-1 tie at the Colorado Rapids.
Tristan Bowen made his season debut, Oswaldo Minda returned from injury, Casey Townsend made his first start since April 1, Alejandro Moreno made his first start in four matches and Jorge Villafana made his first start since July 7.
Juan Pablo Angel scored the tying goal, notching his fourth this year. Chivas needed the point, but it needs a full three points this week.
"We know where we are and we know what we need to do and we'll take the point, but certainly our realization is we have to start winning more games," Fraser said last week.
"In our situation, we look at every game now as a game where we want to get three points. We would have loved to have gotten more, but certainly, given the way the game went, we'll take the point and move on."
Seattle and Chivas tied 1-1 in May, and the Sounders visit the Goats on a good run of form with three wins in their last four matches. The Sounders have lost just three times in 12 road games this season, earning three wins and six ties away from CenturyLink Field.
Last week, Seattle defeated Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 2-0, as Fredy Montero and Eddie Johnson scored goals.
"I always get a special joy when we win a game and we get a Fredy Montero and an Eddie Johnson goal," Schmid said. "I think it substantiates what we're trying to do with those two guys. When you start adding it up now, they are among the three or four best combinations in the league."
Schmid admitted his team is still coming together, as Christian Tiffert played next to Mauro Rosales in midfield last week together to form a new partnership for the Sounders.
"With new players coming in, you still have to find - and it will take some time - the right mix and to see how it mixes together the right way," Schmid said.
Seattle is just seven points off the top with a match in hand on the first- place San Jose Earthquakes and two in hand on second-place Real Salt Lake, and it needs points to remain in the title hunt.