Chivas USA is running out of time. With five games left--three of which are at the Home Depot Center--Chivas USA must find a way to earn the full three points from each match. Gathering the full nine points at home would put an end to an unlikely, yet enduring trend: the team's putrid home form.
With a meager 11 points from home matches--by far the worst in the league, the 2012 Chivas USA squad may very well write themselves into the history books for all the wrong reasons. Suffice it say that even without the recent shake-up in ownership, it's safe to say sweeping changes are imminent.
Any talk of Chivas USA's 2012 season has to begin with their home form. There is no way to sugarcoat this: Chivas are excruciatingly abysmal at the Home Depot Center.
I don't use the term "excruciatingly abysmal" loosely here. Consider this: if the Goats are unable to take any points from their final home games, the 2012 edition of Chivas USA will be tied--with the 2005 Chivas USA squad, as it turns out--for the fourth worst home record in MLS history.
Of course, it's not the first time we've talked about their woeful home form before. Optimists that we are, we always thought that things would pick up and that team would find their way at Carson.
It hasn't happened. You have to go all the way back to mid-July to the last time the Goats actually took a point from a home match. Should Chivas win on Saturday, it will have been 73 days between the two wins.
We may never really know why the 2012 team was almost comically awful at home, but I feel duty bound to clear something up. A common misconception throughout the league is that Chivas plays to an empty stadium with apathetic fans. This is simply not true. Sure, Chivas does not draw the numbers the LA Galaxy does. They also tarp off a few thousand seats. Despite all that, they still bring in an average of just over 13,000 fans to each game.* Furthermore, the Supporters Groups bring a thunderous volley of chants with catchy lyrics combined with drums to make their presence felt. For example, after home losses, when the Black Army yells "Earn your stripes!" the Chivas players know they are being held accountable.
With a 3-2-9 record, Chivas have earned 11 points in home matches--easily the worst in MLS. Three of those points were against Portland--a team Chivas managed to dominate this year, as they got a full nine points from the Timbers; the LA Galaxy--in hindsight, clearly at the lowest point of their post MLS Cup hangover; and the expansion Montreal Impact only a year removed from finishing second to last in the 2011 North American Soccer League (NASL).
To put the team's home record in proper context, the other Western Conference teams average 27 points from their home matches. The next lowest team, the Colorado Rapids, has 23 points earned at home through September 23rd.
The Goats have scored a meager eight goals at home. Even if they were to double that, they would still be worst--not just in the conference--but the league as well. Combined with the 23 goals allowed, Chivas USA's goal differential of -15 makes them the only Western Conference team with a negative goal differential at home.
|2001||Tampa Bay Mutiny||8||14||Alfonso Mondelo
Perry Van der Beck
|1999||NY Metrostars||9||16||Bora Milutinović||Fired|
|2010||DC United||10||16||Curt Onalfo||Fired|
|2005||Chivas USA||11||16||Thomas Rongen
|2012||Chivas USA||11||14||Robin Fraser||????|
If history is our guide, the Goats' dearth of home woes bodes poorly for Robin Fraser.
No MLS coach who finished with fewer home points returned to the helm in the following year.
Fraser and Co. have three matches to turn it around, otherwise they risk cautionary tale status.
*In the original posting of this article, the average attendance number was incorrect. We have since double-checked our sources and corrected the number. We apologize for the mistake.