Well, the official word is here: Chivas USA will not be making the 2011 MLS Cup playoffs. New York Red Bulls' win over the Los Angeles Galaxy last night put the final nail in the Goats' coffin, and there will be no dreams of improbably cup glories this season. Sorry it had to be this abrupt. But you already knew it was coming, right?
If it hadn't been for the recent four-game losing streak, Chivas might have cobbled enough points together to really make their playoff chances interesting, and that is going to be the pivotal point in the season regarding the playoff push. Ultimately it is disappointing, considering Chivas were hovering around 9th to 11th place before dropping to 13th and 14th place, likely their ultimate resting place for 2011.
Read more and vote in the poll after the jumpI'll save the full evaluations of the season for after the regular season ends, but I wonder what the realistic expectations were for Chivas this year. Coming into the season, I think the hope was that there would be improvement over 2010. They have definitely surpassed their points total from last season and they will not finish at the bottom of the Western Conference standings. So by those standards, this season has been a success, because those objectives have been achieved.
But once the season got underway and a tough start was overcome by Robin Fraser and the players, there was real belief that the team could contend for a playoff berth this season. Nobody thought they would compete with the league's elite teams in contending for a title, but the playoffs seemed entirely reasonable. So when the recent late-season collapse sunk Chivas' chances for the postseason, it comes across as a disappointment, unsurprisingly.
But when one reflects on the roster Chivas had this season, it seems clear this is not a terribly talented team. There are some young players with potential, some gritty veterans who provide necessary experience, and a few outstanding players in the middle. I don't think anybody who watches this team thinks they underachieve. Instead, the issue is that they overachieved for most of the season, and crashed back to earth before their new goal was accomplished. So they ended up probably playing at the level they belong, as unpleasant as it is to say.
But I don't want to weigh in alone. I could be totally wrong in taking the temperature of Chivas' fans. Let me know what you think about Chivas' performance this season - if you want to elaborate on your opinion, feel free to leave a comment explaining your decision. Let's find out what the people (you!) are thinking.