What a difference a month makes.
Chivas USA came into Rio Tinto Stadium a few weeks ago off to a hot start that had skeptics believing in the upstart Goats.
Chivas could not be much colder a month later.
Chivas has not won a game since losing to Real Salt Lake 1-0 on April 20. The Goats are 0-2-1 since then, having been outscored 7-0 in their last two matches. Attendance continues to hover around 8,000, and reports of an impending sale don't seem to be going away.
"I think it's a very dangerous time to face a team like that," RSL coach Jason Kreis said. "The score lines have been stacked against them. Now they go home, and I think they are going to be super emotionally charged to get a result against us."
Chivas coach Jose Luis Sanchez Sola left Utah without a victory, but he gave Kreis as difficult a match as he's faced this year in the process.
Chivas' style and shape gave teams fits early, and Kreis believes the Goats still are capable of the offensive punch they displayed during their first eight games.
"They're taking risks all over the park," Kreis said. "They're living and dying by the sword. At the moment, they've been dying. But I think at any given twist, if things go their way, they could be living large."
RLS goalkeeper Nick Rimando agrees with his coach.
"Whenever we get into that situation, the team that's going to play us better watch out," he said. "I'm sure their coach has them raring to go."
Salt Lake, in fact, does have some extra motivation this week.
Despite holding the lead twice last weekend in Montreal, RSL conceded two late goals to fall to the Impact 3-2.
"We lost with a bitter taste in our mouth," Rimando said.
Defender Nat Borchers, who watched the loss from afar as he recovered from a virus, said he thought RSL outplayed Montreal and has been impressed with his club's improved road form in recent weeks.
With a four-game home stretch against tough competition on the horizon, Borchers said RSL is not playing with house money this weekend.
"They're all important points right now," he said.
Kreis expects his squad to respond in California.
"We lost a very emotional match for us by making some mistakes at the end," the coach said, "so we've got a little bit of a statement to make of our own."
Real Salt Lake at Chivas USA
O At Home Depot Center (Carson, Calif.)
Kickof • Sunday, 8:30 p.m.
TV • CW30
Records • RSL 5-5-2 (17 points); Chivas 3-5-2 (12 points)
About RSL • Led twice last week in Montreal but gave up two late goals in a loss to the Impact. … Has scored six goals in three games since loss to the Galaxy.
About Chivas • Has lost its last two matches by a combined 7-0. … Traded away leading goal scorer Juan Agudelo to the New England Revolution last week.