WHILE WEST COAST trips sound sublime, historically for the Union jaunts to sunny California haven't been the most pleasant.

On Friday, the club will jet to Los Angeles for a Saturday night showdown with Chivas USA (10:30 p.m., The Comcast Network) at the Home Depot Center. Chivas (3-3-0, nine points) is perhaps the one Western Conference foe the Union have managed to keep a handle on. In four meetings, the Union won both at PPL Park and played to a pair of 1-1 draws at HDC.

"[Chivas] has had a rough start like us," Nowak said from his weekly press conference Wednesday at PPL Park. "They've lost three games at home and won three on the road, but they have been playing well as of lately and think they've found a very good formula to be successful and they have a pretty established system right now and I don't think they'll change that."

Chivas USA is winless at home this season in part because, just like the Union, the Goats are desperate to find a legit scoring threat. The club will be without high-priced forward Juan Pablo Angel, who has played in just one game since suffering a concussion, but can lean on former Union striker Alejandro Moreno. Additionally, the club is awaiting paperwork on Colombian forward Jose Erick Correa, 19, one of the leaders in Colombia's first division with 12 goals in 35 games.

Though still having a tough time in the offensive department, the Union's (1-3-1, four points) defensive unit again has been a bright spot. In last Saturday's 1-0 win over Columbus, the group extended its shutout streak to 244 games. Keep in mind, the Union has done so with its captain and defensive veteran Danny Califf enduring a rough start to the season due to injury. Nowak noted Wednesday that Califf has been reduced to light jogging and stretching and has still yet to resume training.

But the lack of offensive firepower? Still clearly evident.

The Union hopes the cure comes in the form of German forward/midfielder Kai Herdling. Herdling, 27, who toiled in the reserves at TSG Hoffenheim, was acquired via loan prior to the close of the MLS transfer window. However, Herdling, who flew Tuesday to the German consulate in Frankfurt, is tied up with securing his paperwork and was ruled out for Saturday night.

Time change

The Union's May 13 match at PPL Park vs. the New York Red Bulls has been changed to 12:30 p.m., an hour earlier than its previous time. With the Mother's Day game, which will be broadcast on ESPN2, there will be several opportunities for fans to honor their mothers.

Contact Kerith Gabriel at gabrielk@phillynews.com