Chivas USA could not hold on to a lead at PPL Park against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday and lost 3-2. Goals from Michael Umana (28th minute) and Justin Braun (77th minute) were not enough as Veljko Paunovic (48th minute), Carlos Ruiz (69th minute) and Danny Mwanga (82nd minute) bested the Goats.
What can Chivas take from this match? Let's get a sense of the good, bad and ugly on Saturday:
The Good: On the offensive end, Chivas played pretty well. Can't say they took care of all of their chances, but Umana's score was a nice bonus, as he has only recently gotten into the starting lineup of Chivas' defense and obviously isn't counted on for goals. Furthermore, Justin Braun getting a goal was just what was needed, as he settled into a slump after his terrific hat trick against New York back on May 15. While Braun probably is not reliable enough to score 20 goals a season, he should be able to chip in more than three on the year, and hopefully this will bring his confidence up.
Marcos Mondaini also had another good game despite not being able to get a goal. He has really elevated his play since returning from his suspension on June 1st, and seems to be a player who is getting better as the season progresses. He nearly scored on a free kick just outside the box that went over the wall and dipped, but it hit the crossbar. For the sake of a struggling Chivas team, let's hope his positive momentum continues.
The Bad: The Defense. It's not like they are just bad from start to finish and lose by four or five goals. That would be much worse. But they lose concentration enough times a game now to cause major problems. Chivas have now lost a lead four times in the last six matches, and they have lost ten points as a result. 10 points! Think of how much higher in the table they would be sitting if they didn't keep losing leads. Let me put it this way: one time may be unlucky, twice may be a coincidence, three times may be worrisome, but four is a major problem. Chivas need to get their act together and focus on holding a good line, not letting speedy players blow by them, and maintaining concentration. This is where Coach Robin Fraser needs to shine, in regrouping his defense and getting them to the form they showed in April and most of May.
The Ugly: Chivas place in the table. They remain in 8th place in the Western Conference, and dropped a spot to 13th in the overall table. Again, in comparing their conference record to their overall record, they haven't fallen completely off a cliff, and are currently only two points out of the last playoff spot. But the good vibes Chivas have built up have pretty much died away, and fans have to wonder if Chivas were overachieving in April and May, and are now playing to their proper level. If yes, then it is going to be a long summer.