Well, at least Chivas USA got the season sweep.
On Wednesday, the Goats played expansion brothers Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium, and fell 2-0. A first half penalty from Alvaro Saborio and a second half goal from Kyle Beckerman made the difference on the night. Meanwhile, Chivas had no real chances to speak of, and Marvin Chavez was sent off in the second half for a petulant kick of the ball following a whistle at an Assistant Referee.
In many ways, this game was pretty similar to the last meeting between these clubs, as RSL completely dominated possession and chances, and Chivas tried to soak up the pressure and hit on the break. The differences this time around were clear, and admittedly more representative overall of the teams' performances on the night. This time, Salt Lake got a PK, not Chivas, and RSL converted theirs, and while you can rightly argue the call was soft, when Bobby Burling was judged to have pushed Saborio in the back in the box, it was within the bounds of the laws of the game, and Saborio took advantage of the chance to draw attention when he felt the contact.
As I noted in the match preview, if the Goats gave up a goal in this game, that would likely be it for their chances, and so it proved to be. And by the time Beckerman converted his chance, off a feed by Joao Plata, the game was done and dusted. The score could have been considerably worse, as RSL had two goals called back for offside.
And Chavez's red was pretty stupid. Although he didn't blast the ball at the AR, his intent looked obvious enough that he not only will sit the season finale, but if he continues to play in MLS next season, he could possibly see a suspension from the MLS Disciplinary Committee. For a player who has more MLS experience than most of his teammates, seeing an action like that is beyond disappointing. Although Chivas had a run of red cards this season, the indiscipline that plagued them last season had been more or less wiped out until this evening.
So the two-game winning streak comes to an end for CUSA, an improbable run that didn't seem at all possible a month ago. Realistically, Chivas' previous wins against RSL this season were a combination of good play and luck, and given the talent imbalance between these sides and the opposing fortunes for the clubs over the years, it was not at all surprising that CUSA would fall at this hurdle.
On the bright side, perhaps, is that Chivas USA have one more attempt to end their season, and what looks likely to be their existence, on a positive note, on Sunday at "home" against the San Jose Earthquakes. If they can put this game behind them quickly, and work on getting a win in the last game, it will give everybody a lift with the uncertain future looming.
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