Carson, California. Chivas USA returned home tonight to take on the visiting Houston Dynamo. Although both teams have encountered recent struggles, there was no indication of such with this evening's match, at least for the visitors, as the Dynamo showed absolutely no signs of road fatigue in decimating the Goats 4-1.
Erick Torres opened the match's scoring with a penalty kick in the 7th minute. Cubo's seventh of the season didn't prove to be enough as the Dynamo nailed three straight goals to close out the first half.
After the Goats' initial score, Houston opened the floodgates. In the 12th minute, USMNT hopeful Brad Davis nailed a shot to equalize Chivas' initial score only five minutes after they took the lead. The 32nd minute saw Giles Barnes hit the go-ahead shot to take the 2-1 lead. Finally, the first half saw Will Bruin nail a final score in stoppage time to ensure what would be an insurmountable 3-1 lead.
To make matter worse, backup goalkeeper Tim Melia was red carded, go figure for Chivas, and ejected in the 67th minute for taking an onrushing Bruin out in Chivas' box. This ejection forced 3rd string goalkeeper Trevor Spangenberg to come in and attempt a penalty kick stop on Barnes, but it wasn't to be as Barnes converted it. In this writer's opinion, Spangenberg did an admirable job doing the best that one can especially playing a man down for around twenty minutes.
Here's what we learned from tonight's match:
Be aggressive. Get in the box! Tonight, the Goats began to attack the Dynamo and put them on their heels from the start. According to plan, our Rojiblancos placed themselves in scoring opportunity first when Carlos Alvarez was able to get into the box before being brought down for a penalty. Cubo smoothly nailed a penalty kick past Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall to chalk up the first point of the match. Scoring first is not only necessary, but essential to the Goats as they have consistently exhibited an enormous difficulty with coming back against opponents.
Injuries are insurmountable. Poor Chivas. Tonight, our Goats were forced to play without several key contributors. Injuries have continued to mount to the point where the Goats were lacking Mauro Rosales, Thomas McNamara, Andrew Jean-Baptiste and Tony Lochhead. Additionally, captain and goalkeeper Dan Kennedy was suspended for a previous red card for a handball outside the box. His suspension forced backup Melia into action still seeking his first win as a starter. Without question, a makeshift lineup hardly produces results especially when facing a perennial playoff contender.
Defend. Bobby Burling cannot catch up to quick offensive players. Most, if not all, of the Dynamo's goals could've been prevented with better man-to-man defending. Carlos Bocanegra and Burling have been solid defenders for a number of years. However, speed has never been either's strength. With age, that discrepancy has been aggravated to the point of deficiency. Eriq Zavaleta, although young and inexperienced, has the requisite speed and skill to neutralize many opposing players within the box. Unfortunately, fill-in left back Jean-Baptiste is also out so he was unable to provide the assistance to cover the middle during Houston's repeated attacks.
Without a doubt, changes need to occur. Wilmer Cabrera needs to assess positions and determine if others might be more capable of providing positive results. For example, Marky Delgado is ready, willing and able to fill in with whatever role may be necessary to help secure points for the Goats. These decisions need to be made and quickly I might add, prior to this season again going to waste. Zavaleta may also be capable of assisting up front with our scoring deficiencies. Play that dude now!
Next week, our Goats travel to Colorado to play the Rapids on Sunday. This will prove as a more than formidable task for Chivas USA to overcome. Needless to say, we are in their corner and feel that a positive result is achievable. If not, then what are we rooting for?
What do you think? Leave a comment below!