Houston, Texas. Chivas USA rolled into Texas tonight hoping to continue their recent string of competitive matches. Although they're mathematically eliminated from the MLS Playoffs, the Goats are still fielding a competitive team against all sides that they face. However, tonight's match in Houston resulted in another road woe for our Goats as the Dynamo's Giles Barnes's nailed a beautiful header past Dan Kennedy, from a Brad Davis corner, in the 39th minute. The Davis assist would be his 100th in MLS while Barnes netted his 7th goal of the season.
That initial goal would not be enough to shut the door on the Rojiblancos as they were successfully able to equalize in the 50th minute on an Eric Avila score. That would be the Goats' best opportunity as the Dynamo would then score four successive goals from Giles Barnes' second (for his MLS 8th in the 54th), Will Bruin (63rd) and then Boniek Garcia had back-to-back strikes(79th and and 91st minutes). These 5 goals would be "all she wrote" for Chivas USA.
Here's what we observed from tonight's match:
Get the ball! Any dilettante observer of soccer can attest that controlling the ball leads to more opportunities. More opportunities lead to more shots on goal. In turn, those shots on goal usually lead to more goals scored.
In tonight's first half, the Dynamo dominated time of possession by 17% points. Additionally, the Dyanamo more than doubled the Goats' shots on goals at a margin of 7 to 3. All of which set the tone for Houston to seize an early lead over Chivas. This early lead proved to be insurmountable as the Dynamo continue to score four more goals after Chivas equalized.
Boca! Chivas USA have witnessed a notable improvement since the arrival of defender Carlos Bocanegra. Prior to this evening, the Goats have not lost in 5 of the 8 matches that he's started. Additionally, the former USMNT Captain has helped to tremendously stabilize a defensive back line that was in a constant state of transition. Tonight was no different as Bocanegra helped to provide direction toward a team that could substantially benefit from such sage advice and play. Carlos was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise forgettable evening.
Defense OR offense. Few teams are successful, in any soccer league, that both cannot score and surrenders multiple goals. For Chivas, this contrast had been recently remedied as close scores were resulting in points being accumulated. However, the Dynamo secured a 5-1 goal differential which marks an enormously lopsided victory in any match. Tonight, observers witnessed two separate teams with very disparate objectives: the Dynamo were obviously hoping to secure a potential MLS Playoff spot and the Goats were playing toward improving for next season. A team must either score or stop the other team from doing so.
Tonight's match was a undoubtedly a bad loss for the Chivas organization. No team wants to surrender three points in a four-goal loss, but the Goats must remain focused on continuing their recent improvements. Hopefully, their defensive line can look forward to the return of Marky Delgado, Bobby Burling and Carlos Borja for their upcoming match. Next up, the San Jose Earthquakes will travel to Carson, California, to combat the Goats at home on the 29th of September. Let's hope that the Goats simply do better than this evening. Progress comes in many forms.