Chivas USA finally have the "goat" off their backs. Once again at home, after a three-game road trip, the Goats were victorious by a 1-0 margin over Toronto FC, their first win in MLS play since March 30 (that's 109 days for those of you keeping track). Newly acquired Mexican forward Erick Torres netted his first goal in MLS in the 79th minute. This was Torres' first appearance since transferring to Chivas USA from Chivas Guadalajara. Cubo's lone strike would prove to be all the Goats needed to secure their first victory in their last fifteen matches.
A fourteen game winless streak, with ten losses, is no longer hanging over the team's heads. Head coach Jose Luis Real's Rojiblancos can begin to focus on the positives with his first win and three ties in their last five matches. To compound the positives, this clean sheet was actually accomplished with only ten men after midfielder Eric Avila was red carded, with much fan consternation, in the 25th minute of the match. Ten on eleven didn't stop Chivas tonight!
Here's what we observed from tonight's match:
He's back: Two-time World Cup veteran and former U.S. Men's National Team captain Carlos Bocanegra made his first MLS appearance in over a decade. His presence would prove to be essential throughout the match as he was able to consistently dictate and lead a makeshift backline. Bocanegra's influence was both immediate and constant throughout the match's entire duration. Perhaps none was more influential than during the final ten minutes plus four minutes of stoppage time, where Boca was able to place his head on at least four balls within the goal box. His efforts rescued captain and goalkeeper Dan Kennedy from even needing to make a save during the last few minutes of the game. Good things are definitely here to come from our newest addition.
Consistency: Without question, Chivas USA has been improving under Real's tenure. The Goats have only lost one time in their last five matches. Additionally, their defense has drastically improved to finally allowing only ten shots on goal for TFC in preserving this shutout. These positive statistics certainly match up favorably when coupled with the Goats' record versus TFC, where they now have six straight victories in all home matches. Furthermore, the compiled goal differential is now 13-1 in favor of the Goats at home against Toronto. If only we could play them every match...or maybe more than once a year.
Parlay: For all the aforementioned positives, it should be noted that these actions must be duplicated on a more consistent basis. Ties need to become wins as losses become ties. This central part of the MLS season is where teams need to really focus on point accumulation so that they are playoff eligible at the home stretch. Chivas have now been both making positive personnel moves such as Cubo and Boca, as well as showing the results in the scoreboard. With this said, there is still a vast need for continuing improvement to replicate and expand upon. The Goats cannot stop here nor be content with just one win. More should come.
Chivas are now off for an eleven-day hiatus, which should provide ample opportunity to bask in this win and focus on the numerous positives displayed tonight. July 28th will be another road match in the Pacific Northwest to face the Seattle Sounders. Hopefully, the time off will enable Chivas to reproduce the winning formula that was so prevalent tonight. This was a huge victory and many congrats, guys!
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