First, apologies on the delay in posting this recap. I was sick before the match, drove all the way to Carson to attend and then watched Chivas USA lose their season finale to the Seattle Sounders 3-1 Saturday, and then spent Sunday in a funk, both illness- and soccer-related. But even though the season ended on a note that leaves Chivas fans with a bitter taste in their mouths, the show must go on, as they say. Let's go over the match.
Despite the somewhat lopsided scoreline, the teams battled to a scoreless stalemate in the first half. Juan Pablo Angel scored in the third minute, but the goal was called back for offside. It was too bad, as the game could have turned out very differently with an early Chivas goal. Instead, the trouble started a few minutes later when Ben Zemanski half-heartedly tried to tackle Mauro Rosales while staying on his feet, and the two players banged knees. Rosales, just returned from an earlier knee injury, stayed on the ground several minutes, was stretchered off and substituted. He was walking after the game so it doesn't appear like he will miss significant time, which is good for Zemanski, lest he become the latest target of Seattle fans' hatred.As I said, following Rosales' injury, the game was poorly played and neither team seemed to have much urgency in the first half. That changed after the restart, when Seattle scored three unanswered goals. Although Chivas held 60% of the possession in the match, a high proportion by MLS standards, the Sounders played on the counterattack and made Chivas pay repeatedly. The first goal came via a mix-up in front of goal, as Andrew Boyens' attempted clearance instead beat Dan Kennedy for an own goal in the 53rd minute. Then, Alvaro Fernandez had acres of space on another counterattack in the 68th minute and coolly shot it past Kennedy to double the lead. Finally, Seattle newcomer and a player Chivas refused to pick up earlier this season, Sammy Ochoa, finally broke the duck on Chivas rejects who will surely come back to haunt the Goats, by scoring in the 73rd minute on a diving header from a Fredy Montero cross. The header went through Dan Kennedy's legs on the bounce, and I think the fact that he used his head instead of his foot tricked Kennedy enough to give Ochoa a split second advantage on the shot. The rout was on.
The evening ending on a slightly more upbeat note, however, as Chivas scored in the 83rd minute. A nifty sequence saw Alejandro Moreno turn in the box and pass it to Mariano Trujillo, who crossed it to the far post and Marcos Mondaini headed it from the endline to Victor Estupinan, who headed it past Keller. It is Estupinan's first career MLS goal, and it was nice to see the relief he felt following the goal, as he acknowledged the crowd. Estupinan will probably never live down his claim after being drafted that he was going to score 30 goals in his rookie season, but perhaps he can build on his performance in this match and in recent reserve matches and be a solid MLS pro next season.
Although the offseason has begun for Chivas, I'll still be filing regular posts concerning news and looking back on an inconsistent 2011 campaign, so I'm not going to go over any particular talking points from this match as there is several months to reflect on the game and season. Look for me to review the players' seasons, the season individual and team statistics, offer my opinion on offseason moves, and provide any news that comes my way. The season may not have ended in the way that Chivas' fans hoped, but stick with The Goat Parade, and we'll pass the time until they can try and impress us in 2012.