Toronto, Chivas try to keep playoff hopes alive
Carson, CA – Toronto FC and Chivas USA meet at The Home Depot Center on Saturday sitting on the outside of the Major League Soccer playoff picture.
Through 30 games this season, both teams are in seventh place in their respective conferences. Toronto is tied with the Chicago Fire with 30 points apiece, while Chivas has 32 points in the West.
All is still left to play for, as Chivas is just five points adrift the final wild card playoff spot, held by the Portland Timbers with 37 points.
While Toronto is also still in the hunt, it was widely suggested that the club would scrap Saturday's tilt in Carson in favor of its CONCACAF Champions League match against Pumas on Tuesday.
But head coach Aron Winter has denied those suggestions, saying that his team is only focused on the Chivas fixture.
"Now I'm not thinking about the [Champions League] game for next week," Winter told MLSsoccer.com. "I'm not going to look two and three games forward - always the next game, and it's Chivas."
A playoff spot for Toronto is a stretch, but not out of the question. The club is 3-1-3 in its last seven league matches, a mark of improvement as Winter continues to rebuild the team.
"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."
At the heart of the Toronto resurgence has been Danny Koevermans, who has recorded six goals in his seven MLS games. Koevermans bagged a brace in Toronto's last outing, a 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids.
Chivas is coming off of a 2-2 midweek draw at D.C. United. Juan Pablo Angel provided both goals for the Goats, while goalkeeper Dan Kennedy salvaged a point with a late penalty kick save.
When Toronto hosted Chivas at BMO Field on April 2, Alejandro Moreno and Alan Gordon traded goals in the first half as the two teams played to a 1-1 draw.