Carson, California. The season has finally ended. There is no more misery nor "what-ifs" left to debate. Tonight, Chivas USA has played their final match of the 2013 MLS season. After falling to the playoff-bound Portland Timbers, the Goats can finally rest.
The Timbers' Diego Valeri opened up the match's scoring with a goal against Chivas in only the 16th minute. The score marked Valeri's third in as many matches against the Goats. However, Valeri didn't stop there as he soon turned around and nailed a brace in the 29th minute of the match. These scores appeared and proved to be virtually insurmountable as Chivas continued to battle in order to equalize the Timbers' early lead.
The equalizer soon proved to be out of reach as Valeri added to his scoring total by assisting with Rodney Wallace on his seventh goal of the season in the match's 34th minute. Finally, substitute Ryan Johnson scored the Timbers' 4th goal in the 72nd minute of the match against an outmatched Tim Melia in goal for Chivas. Will Johnson then buried another one only four minutes later. Oh, my...
These five goals were all that the Timbers needed to bury our Goats.
Here's what we observed from tonight's final match:
Inevitability. Teams play matches, regardless of anticipated results, because there is no end that is cemented in stone. With that said, probability certainly plays a role in determining outcomes. Tonight's match was no different as Portland, with much to play for including the Supporter's Shield and home-field advantage in the MLS Playoffs, as discernible objectives. The Timbers goals clearly trumped the Goats' goal of ending the season well and playing hard.
(Note: Prior to kickoff, Kansas City's win in stoppage time eliminated Portland from Supporter's Shield contention).
In spite of probability, sheer talent level will always play an instrumental role within the determination of a match's result. Clearly, Portland has a solid core of players with Valeri, Will Johnson, Darlington Nagbe, Rodney Wallace and newly reborn Donovan Ricketts. These guys all played an enormous role in building and sustaining Portland's lead.
As much as it is difficult to admit, the Timbers were simply the better team with more to play for. Head coach Jose Luis Real seemed to realize this inequality prior to the end of the first half as he utilized all three of team substitutions prior to the first half whistle. After going down by three goals, out were Jaime Frias, Bryan de la Fuente and Edgar Mejia. In, to change the match's tempo, were Josue Soto, Matthew Fondy and Julio Morales all of which were offensive upgrades designed to assist in reclaiming a competitive edge in an uneven game.
Grab that lead! It's obviously easier to play with a substantial lead than deficit. Apologies, but little else needs to be elaborated on this sentiment. Our Rojiblancos went down by three in the opening half. 'Nuff said.
There's always... Next year. Chivas clearly have some positives going into the MLS' offseason. To begin with, they have tradable assets with several players, even including team leaders Dan Kennedy and Carlos Bocanegra. Solid and spectacular MLS professionals could most definitely command attention from a legitimate MLS contender. On the flip side, Chivas' leaders would also serve as more than capable mentors and leaders on the pitch if retained.
The MLS SuperDraft is quickly approaching as well as both the Supplemental and Re-entry Drafts. All are solid opportunities for Chivas to accumulate both skills and depth to their squad. (Chivas will have D.C. United's second round pick; they traded their first round pick to Philadelphia (Gabriel Farfan trade) and their second round pick to the Sounders in the Shalrie Joseph trade. Ed.)
Keep in mind that the Goats already have some young valuable assets in Erick Torres, Carlos Alvarez, Bryan de la Fuente, Julio Morales and Marky Delgado. If these young guns are combined with greater depth and ability, then the sky is the only limit to their potential.
This is the end. All of the hardships of this MLS season are now in the past. Tomorrow is a new day just as next year is a new season. Chivas USA is our team and will always continue to be so. As fans, we root for the squad in good times and bad. We hold out hope and belief that the best potential squad will be assembled for next year. This new squad will exhibit tendencies and abilities that should directly result in wins and possibly an appearance in the MLS Playoffs.
We all want, expect and demand a contender. We love you, Goats!
What do you think? Leave a comment below!