After years of watching Chivas USA struggle through league play, wondering about the future of the club, and most recently, dealing with reports of the team's imminent disappearance, the Goats finished the 2014 season, and possibly their entire history, on Sunday by beating the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0. A first-half goal from Felix Borja was the difference on the day.
While I don't think you can call this game a vintage performance for either side, the quality was decent enough in the first half, with Chivas playing a good counterattacking game, something they have developed into in their final month. It makes one wonder if they should have been really playing that style longer.
Star striker Erick Torres had two shots bounce off the post in the first half, and the second led to the goal. In the 33rd minute, Leandro Barrera dribbled through the middle of the field, sent a pass out wide to the left, and Cubo ran onto it. He nutmegged Victor Bernardez, dribbled along the endline all the way into the box, and sent a tightly-angled shot on goal. The shot ended up bouncing off the far post, and Borja scored his third goal in four games by slotting home the rebound. It turned out, if reports about the team halting play are correct, to be the final goal scored by a Chivas USA player.
The second half was very disjointed, with the Quakes dominating possession of the ball, and repeated delays in play due to injuries (none apparently serious, thankfully). Overall, it wasn't an offensive explosion, with a total of seven shots on goal for the match (CUSA held the edge with four). Effectively, after taking the lead, Chivas sweated out the final two-thirds of the game, and that was enough.
The win, impressively enough, gives the Goats three in their last four. It's all the more impressive when you consider the final time they won a single game in the month of October was back in 2010, which is about 6 MLS versions ago.
So, mission accomplished, insofar as the mission was to win on the day. Certainly, fans' spirits were lifted on a bizarre day, and players were loose and upbeat in talking to reporters following the match. I was desperate for a win, and at least we got to see that, come what may, I suppose.
We'll have far more coverage on the game and the final day experience coming up. For now, what did you think about the game? Leave a comment below!