Another late equalizer left Chivas USA looking for answers and lost points.
Despite the letdown, the 1-1 result gave the Goats four points from their last two matches, which is absolutely fantastic considering they were only able to get 3 points in the 8 weeks before that. By CUSA standards, that's great form.
Here are 10 Observations from Chivas' 1-1 draw with FC Dallas.
1. Minda's Playing for a WC Spot - In his first game since being called up to Ecuador's pre-World Cup training camp, Oswaldo Minda played like he deserves a ticket to Brazil. Usually known for his ability to use his physicality and stop offenses in their tracks, Minda also reminded everyone how fast he can be, constantly trailing back to help the backline, such as when he helped Bobby Burling with Fabian Castillo. Minda did get his now customary yellow card (everyone drink!) and so he'll be out for his next game, but who knows when that'll be considering his potential World Cup duties.
2. Cubo Subbed Out - There's a trend going on here. For the third game in a row and the fourth time in 5 games, Erick Torres has been subbed out. This time it happened in the 79th minute with CUSA holding a narrow 1-0 lead. Cubo wasn't productive during this time on the pitch and he didn't even get a shot off (CUSA's 8 shots came from 7 different players). He also had 3 turnovers and was dispossessed 4 times. Despite that, a guy of his ability can breakout at any moment and the team can't afford to not have him on the field.
I don't sub out one of the league's best strikers even with a lead, especially since the team's not only prone to giving up goals but having difficulty scoring them as well.
3. Congrats Marky! - A day after his 19th birthday, Marky Delgado gave himself the best gift any professional baller could give themselves -- his first goal as a professional. According to Olivia Cervantes of cdchivasusa.com, Dan Kennedy supposedly told Marky he'd score his first goal of his young career Saturday night, and sure enough, he did. Its crazy to think that this is his 3rd season with the club and he's only a year removed from high school.
4. Can't Stop, Won't Stop Castillo - By now we all know how much CUSA struggles defending quick players that are good on the ball. CUSA knew what it was in for with Fabian Castillo on the field and the young Colombian didn't miss a beat, ending his scoring drought by netting his first goal since that last encounter in March. Given the freedom to roam and pick his spots, Castillo terrorized the CUSA defense on 1v1s in and around the box (of FCD's 22 successful dribbles, Castillo had 11). He does a good job of focusing defensive attention by drawing double and triple teams, only to leave other players with open space. Castillo realizes this and is quick and savvy enough to not over-dribble and feed them the ball.
5. Dirty Laundry - CUSA is still without a clean sheet on the year and the hamper is now overflowing with dirty laundry. Going back to 2013, the streak now continues to 17 consecutive games without a clean sheet and the team has only 1 in their last 25. They are 1 of only 4 teams that are waiting for that first clean sheet (FCD, Chicago, and Portland being the others). I suggest the team starts growing beards.
6. Another Blown Lead - Saturday's result marks the 5th time CUSA has given up a lead late in the game:
- Game 2 v VAN: Let in an equalizer in the 81st minute
- Game 4 @ NY - Let in equalizer in the 95th minute
- Game 7 v SEA - Let in the game winner in 81st minute
- Game 10 @ COL - Gave up clean sheet in 92nd minute
- Game 11 @ FCD - Let in equalizer in 83rd minute
In another frustrating stat, CUSA hasn't fared too well in the final 10 minutes this season. They've allowed 6 goals and only scored Two. Two of those goals conceded against have come in extra time.
7. Time to Buy a TV (But Keep the Receipt) - After going all of last season and most of 2012 without a TV deal, CUSA finally televised their first game of the season on local independent station KDOC. That's nice and all, but when you consider the team had waited 10 weeks to market the team to Los Angeles by way of a television contract and the accompanying team advertisements, I can't help but question team president Nestor Rodriguez's current motives for the club.
8. The LB Lineup Shift - Wilmer Cabrera has been pretty consistent with his 4-2-3-1 formation, but the personnel has changed from game to game. Some of Cabrera's selections are a bit telling. Tony Lochhead, who started the season as the team's #1 option at left back, hasn't left the bench in two consecutive games and it appears that both Donny Toia and the injured Andrew Jean-Baptiste have vaulted ahead of him on the depth chart. Kudos to Toia for being the surprise of the season so far. He came in as a 21-year-old trialist and through hard work and consistency, has become a bonafide MLS-caliber talent. Check out that recovery speed and determination.
9. Barrera Couldn't Influence - FCD LB Zach Loyd, and DM Victor Ulloa did such a great job of taking Leandro Barrera out of the game that he was literally taken out of the game in the 62nd minute for Carlos Alvarez. Barrera had one of his poorer games of the season, never really being able to have an influence in the game. He had a tough time keeping possession and doing his usual damage on the left, finishing the game with only one cross. With Marvin Chavez potentially going to Brazil, Barrera must regain that form on the wing and I fully expect him to do so.
10. Sitting back won't read to many results - CUSA looked flat and uninspired on Saturday night. With no real dynamic threat, coupled with a lack of movement, the attack became predictable and the offense was never able to get off its feet. Possession (or lack of) been a real problem for CUSA - the team has only won the possession battle in two of their 11 games this season and a handful of those outputs have been in the 30% range.
BONUS - CUSA currently leads the league in red cards and Wilmer Cabrera previously got fined by the league for voicing his displeasure. There were two instances in the game where I was left shaking my head wondering how FCD avoided going down a man or two. In the 23rd minute, Stephen Keel let out a back heel kick at Cubo while lying on the ground and while some may call it desperate attempt, I see hints of frustration and viciousness. From my perspective, that's worthy of a straight red and at the very, very least a yellow, but to my amazement all he was given was a straight foul. In the 68th minute, Blas Perez nails Bobby Burling with a studs up kick to the stomach, yet no foul was called. Time to review some tape, MLS.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!