Carson, California. The StubHub Center was a more than welcome sight for Chivas USA after a couple of difficult road games. Tonight's match with D.C. United gave the home squad another opportunity to both display their defensive prowess as well as secure much needed points. The Goats didn't hesitate in any capacity whatsoever in order to completely shut down the DCU attack throughout the entire game to secure a 1-0 victory.
Chivas hopefuls were eager to begin this match due to the fact that DCU would be playing without their three Canadian International players. Former MLS MVP Dwayne De Rosario, Dejan Jakovic and Kyle Porter were all called up for international duty. This assuredly increased the Rojiblanco's chances to earn some points at home. Their absences coupled with Chivas defender Carols Bocanegra's return had the home fan base eager and optimistic for a win.
And, a win is exactly what they got when Erick Torres knocked in Chivas' opening strike in the 51st minute. All looked fairly solid for the Goats as DCU came into this evening's match with 0 wins, 16 losses and 1 tie after surrendering an opening goal to their opponent.
Here's what we witnessed tonight:
Heroism. Chivas USA, as tweeted by @OptaJack, stated that the home team currently leads all MLS with 9 ball clearances off the line. This defensive dominance and fearlessness certainly quantify the consistent effort and willingness that Dan Kennedy and his Goat defenders have exhibited on a regular basis. Chivas defenders Bobby Burling, Marky Delgado, Carlos Borja, Mario de Luna and Bocanegra are all in-your-face impact players who know how to lock down opposing attackers. Bolstering the Goats' back line are defensive midfielders Oswaldo Minda and Edgar Mejia who both go to extraordinary ends to stifle the opposition's offensive efforts. Tonight was no different as they were able to control the game's pace and close down both DCU's passing lanes and shot opportunities.
Youth movements. Chivas and DCU have both fielded two of the youngest squads in all of MLS. Not surprisingly, these youth movements have not resulted in an abundance of accumulated points for either team as the Goats only had 22 total while DCU was even worse with only 14 prior to this match.
Nevertheless, both organizations feel that the necessary building blocks are present to be competitive for years to come. DCU fielded an exceptionally young lineup that included USMNT goalkeeper Bill Hamid, former ROY contender Nick DeLeon along with promising newcomers Luis Silva, Conor Doyle and Collin Martin to combine with US youth internationals Chris Pontius and Perry Kitchen. These players provide head coach Ben Olsen and DCU a proverbial "light at the end of the tunnel."
Jose Luis Real's Goats have no shortage of young players of their own. Perhaps none are more valuable than Torres and his uncanny ability to put the ball in the back of the net. Torres is becoming increasingly more dangerous as his playing familiarity grows with fellow youngsters Carlos Alvarez, Julio Morales, Bryan de la Fuente and Marky Delgado. With ample playing time available, their true potential is unlimited.
Struggling to score. Still. Neither DCU nor Chivas USA are consistently racking up goals on their opponents. Coming into tonight's match, DCU had only scored 16 goals compared to Chivas' 26. These statistics, when combined with both teams' relatively young players have left DCU and Chivas USA at the bottom of the Eastern and Western Conferences, respectively. Fortunately, both squads also bolster extremely solid goalkeepers in Hamid and Kennedy (who is the MLS leader with 91 saves) who keep their teams in most games until the bitter end.
An ugly win is still a win nonetheless. Chivas played a phenomenal game in managing to hold onto three points despite playing against a spirited DCU side. As a fan, it's an awesome experience to witness a team's fruits of labor come to fruition in the form of a home victory. The win is even more satisfying after surrendering so many late leads in matches where a victory was well within reach.
Many sincere congrats to the Goats and let's welcome the Portland Timbers with the same intensity on Saturday.
What do you think? Think the substitution of Avila for Morales was too early? Leave your thoughts and comments below!