Maybe Chivas USA should play in the snow more often, as winter conditions at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Sunday afternoon proved no problem for the Goats in a 3-1 road win over the Colorado Rapids. Erick Torres got his now-customary-but-never-taken-for-granted goal to open the scoring in the 56th minute off a beautifully disguised Martin Rivero cross, before newcomer Marvin Chavez, traded to Chivas from the Rapids earlier in the week, came off the bench to score two terrific goals of his own. On the first, Chavez ran a one-man counterattack, beating Marvell Wynne and former Chivas midfielder Nick LaBrocca, and then floating a delicate chip over an onrushing Clint Irwin. Chavez's pace was breathtaking, on a play that was 60-70 yards altogether.
Chavez doubled his goals tally in the 76th minute, when he ran onto a short headed back pass by Marc Burch, beating Irwin to the spot and chipping him once again to put Chivas up 3-0.
The only blight on the day is that Deshorn Brown scored in second half injury time to prevent a shutout, which would have been their first of the season. Still, three points!
Let's go over some talking points coming out of the game:
Another man's treasure: Besides Cubo, who is having a fantastic season, the two players who had the most impact on the attacking end today were former Rapids Rivero and Chavez. The former has been with the Goats for several weeks now, but coach Wilmer Cabrera has been bringing him along slowly to work him up to match fitness. After this performance, it is understandable why he wanted him, and why he was worth the wait. The question now is how is Cabrera going to put Rivero and Mauro Rosales on the field at the same time when both are healthy, as it stands to reason that having both will help Chivas' attack tremendously.
Chavez, of course, is garnering the biggest headlines, as he should. He's not even that big of a goal scorer in his MLS career to date, having picked up 12 in the regular season prior to today. There's probably a good chance his hunger to prove the Rapids wrong for having traded him, along with his hunger to be ready for the World Cup, may not always mean he'll be scoring braces. But in just 33 minutes with CUSA, he vaulted up to second-highest scorer on the team. If his speed and motivation continue, he could be the kind of addition Chivas were screaming out for, and one that could make Cabrera look very smart, indeed.
Streakbusting: Not only did Chivas break their three-game losing streak, and their eight-game winless streak, but also their nearly 14-month road winless streak. Spirits have been dropping, fans have been getting upset at recent results, and this win may not alleviate all of the concerns, but it certainly makes it look like this vintage of Chivas USA will have more fight and tenacity than prior teams. That they played a patient game and poured it on late in a game most didn't think they had a chance in is testament to their ability to work hard in training, put a good game plan together, and carry it out. Well done, for lifting the hopes of Chivatown.
Home cooking: Of course, the other big headline is that Cabrera got a win over the team where he used to be an assistant coach. Did Chivas benefit from some inside knowledge? Maybe some, though some of the players featuring for Colorado were new from Cabrera's time there, and the fact that a new coach has taken over probably mitigates some of the possible advantages Cabrera had. Still, it's got to be vindication in a sense for Cabrera, who was feeling the heat in recent games. Will this win be a blip, or can the team build on this? Here's where a sense of realism is important. Hopefully the Goats can push on and continue to get better, not to mention pick up points on a regular basis. Wins have been so sporadic, so they have to be cherished, but expectations should hopefully rise as well.
Looking ahead: Chivas will take on a team they've already faced this year, FC Dallas, next weekend. They were convincingly beaten last time, but can they build on what they've learned in the meantime, not to mention Dallas' struggles in recent weeks, and get a favorable result? We will see.
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