Despite reaching Dallas before the hosts, Chivas USA could not get a goal and fell to FC Dallas 1-0 Sunday. A goal in the 26th minute from Marvin Chavez was all Dallas needed to get the full three points, and while Chivas had some chances, they could not convert any of them. Even though Dallas was stranded in El Salvador until Saturday after their midweek win in the CONCACAF Champions League over FC Alianza, the conditions on the field at Pizza Hut Park were brutal, well over 100 degrees, and both teams suffered in the heat. A water break in the 35th minute was even mandated so that both teams could stay hydrated and safe in the extreme heat. Despite that, Chivas' five-game unbeaten streak has been snapped.
Below, we go over some of the talking points from the match.
Same formation, different result: Robin Fraser opted to go with the same lineup and same formation as they used last week against Houston. A 4-1-4-1 was deployed to start the game, with Lahoud again as a defensive midfielder to provide defensive cover, and Justin Braun alone up top. This time, the defensive end looked decent, if not perfect, but the attack was toothless. Braun could not continue his form from the last match, and his touch was off all night. He looked increasingly frustrated during the game, but other players were wilting from the heat and Fraser could not take him off. I do think the formation is good, but the key is having an in-form striker who can lead the line alone. Braun just couldn't get the job done, so Fraser had to adjust during the game, bringing on Moreno midway through the second half to give Chivas more of an attacking energy. It worked for about 10 minutes, as Chivas were able to get a good run of play going and had a couple of half chances, but the momentum dissipated and over the last 10 minutes, a goal looked impossible.
Chivas need a goalscorer now: I'm all for being patient about player acquisitions in order for scouting and financial terms to be worked out. The last thing the team needs is to rush to grab a player who will not contribute. But every week that Chivas fail to get an effective player means a week that Chivas' vulnerabilities remain exposed for opponents. Valuable points dropped in July can mean the Goats failing to make the playoffs in October, so let's all hope an impact player is coming very soon. Obviously, the players on the team now need to make sure they convert their chances, but having an impact player (a la Brek Shea) makes the other players on the team better. Do I think Chivas will get a player of Shea's caliber? Probably not, but an upgrade is certainly needed.
The heat hurt both teams: Do not consider it an excuse, but the heat was a factor in this performance for both sides. The momentum shifted back and forth as players tried to conserve their energy as much as possible, and Chivas players did not fight for as many 50/50 balls as one would normally expect. I don't think it is too concerning under normal circumstances, but Chivas gave Dallas way too much space in midfield in this game. As long as these bad habits don't creep into the next match, their lack of intensity can certainly be forgiven in this match. And hopefully nobody got heat stroke, on the field or in the stands.
Looking ahead: Chivas travel to Foxboro to take on the New England Revolution next Saturday. The Goats beat the Revs in the previous match 3-0, so they will be looking for the season sweep. New England is having a poor season, but they have shown signs of life the last couple of matches, so it is not a match for Chivas to take lightly. Nonetheless, Chivas will need to play for a full three points in order to stay in the playoff mix.
What did you think of the match? Leave a comment below!