Let me paint a picture for you: Chivas USA prize defense above offense, do a mostly credible job, but after going down, can't mount any kind of attack to even the score. What does it sound like? 2012? Yes, of course it does, but it also describes what happened Sunday in the second SuperClasico of the season, when Chivas USA fell 1-0 to the LA Galaxy. Rookie forward Gyasi Zardes scored at the end of the first half, and that was all that was needed for the "visitors" to get the win. For Chivas, it makes it seven straight league losses, and 10 games without a win. Since bottom-dwellers D.C. United and Toronto FC have gotten wins in the past couple weeks, that means Chivas' form is the worst in the league at the moment.
Let's do a quick good, bad, and ugly for this game:
Chivas played better, again. Yes, it wasn't good enough to get a result, but they are marginally improving. Chivas' attack got off to a good start, and faltered over the course of the match. While the Galaxy outshot them 16-6, their shots on goal was close, with the Galaxy getting a 3-to-1 edge. Obviously, just one shot on goal isn't good enough, but the team seemed to be on the same page with striker Jose Correa more than they have all season.
The defensive performance was solid overall, with the four-man backline playing much better. I think Walter Vilchez is a substantial upgrade over Joaquin Velazquez, and Josue Soto played surprisingly well as a fullback. Perhaps the best news, albeit not actually anything to get too excited about, is that the team only allowed one goal, and Dan Kennedy was only forced to make two saves. Keeping his workload down is a good indicator that Chivas at least had a chance in the game.
I think "Fraserball" is back. I did suggest that Chivas prioritize the defense for this match, and I stand by that recommendation, since it was nearly effective. The problem is that the heavily-defensive mindset leads to mostly dull and uninspiring soccer. The attack looked fairly lively, but looking pretty good isn't really an end in itself. Goals need to be scored, too, or this team will win 20 "moral victories" and no actual victories. When it comes to games against the Galaxy, "moral victories" simply aren't good enough.
Gabriel Farfan didn't play great in attacking midfield in the first half, and slotted back as an impromptu defensive midfielder in the second half. He says he is a midfielder, but I'm starting to worry that he is competent at several positions, but doesn't distinguish himself at any spot. It was just a game, but how are you all feeling about Farfan since joining the Goats?
Oswaldo Minda got hurt at the end of the first half. Is it a coincidence that Chivas conceded the losing goal just after his departure? I don't think so. His abrupt exit unsettled Chivas on the field, and points out that Chivas have no equal to Minda, both in his position and overall (with exception of Dan Kennedy). What's more, instead of playing Marvin Iraheta (who has a lot to learn still), the other available defensive mid on the 18, Jose Luis Real opted to just put Farfan back there. Like I said, Farfan looked better there than pushed up, but still, it's not his position. Let's see, Ben Zemanski would be a good option in a situation like this, wouldn't he? Let's just hope that Minda's injury isn't major and he can return as soon as possible.
And it was another loss. From Real's perspective, I think another improved performance is a good signal in the right direction. But from a fan's perspective, the continual losing, in addition to the almost constant losing to the Galaxy, is exhausting. Frankly, it's going to be unbearable if we continue to see Chivas barely lose games. Can we reasonably expect a win in a game or two? If it takes much longer, 2012 will be back, and it will be even worse.
Looking ahead; Chivas host the New England Revolution next Saturday. The Revs have been playing well lately, largely due to...Juan Agudelo. I've already got a sinking feeling about this one...
What do you think? Leave a comment below.