Chivas USA got their first win in about six weeks last weekend. They followed that up with another win, to start their first winning streak of the season, as they beat the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 at Buck Shaw Stadium on Wednesday night. And just like in the win on Saturday, they notched a shutout and grabbed full points behind an Erick Torres goal, his 11th of the season.
Torres grabbed his goal in the 53rd minute, when a cross floated into the box by Mauro Rosales was inadvertently flicked into his path by Quakes defender Jason Hernandez, and he hit a low hard shot just inside the near post to beat Jon Busch.
Both teams traded chances, but the scoreline stood and Dan Kennedy and Busch each had strong performances in net for their respective teams. The win gives Chivas their first winning streak of 2014, and pulls them out of the basement in the Western Conference, as they jump over San Jose to get to 8th place, and now sit just five points out of the final playoff position (could the hope there be rekindled?).
Here are some talking points coming out of the game:
Chivas have started second half of season well enough: It has to be said that this team is still not firing on all cylinders, and better teams will be able to pick them apart if they continue to play at this level. But for a team that has been so apt to make the silly mistake, to pick up the costly red card (warranted or not), to let in the late equalizer or winner for the other side, having back-to-back wins picks up the side's flagging fortunes tremendously, and should help inspire some confidence. And getting their second road win of the season, against a team they hadn't beaten in their last seven tries, is a good step in the right direction for this team. Can they continue another good start to the half-season with a good result this weekend? That's the next test.
Once again, thank you Cubo: He has scored in three straight league matches, helping Chivas pick up seven points in those games. Chivas have picked up points in all but three games in which he's scored this season, and perhaps more tellingly, they've only picked up one point combined in the five games where he hasn't gotten a goal. Put simply, despite opponents knowing the goals will certainly go through him (he's scored 68.5 percent of Chivas' goals this season), he continues to find a way to get them, and Chivas' hopes for grabbing points run largely through him. Imagine if they had some players actually supporting him in the scoring column, and CUSA's season may not be as hopeless as it appeared a few weeks ago.
Cabrera's shortened the rotation: It's pretty apparent now that head coach Wilmer Cabrera is turning to consistency in his lineup to try and get the most out of the team. Though I expect the team to continue making moves throughout the season, he's shortened his rotation of players who see action, and while there is still movement in and out of the lineup, there aren't nearly as many players seeing time nowadays. It will be interesting to see what he does with the game at the weekend, since it's going to be hard to expect players like Carlos Bocanegra and Mauro Rosales to start a third game in seven days. I'm sure there will be lineup rotation, but he may be tempted to push a couple of players to the limit in order to see if they can keep the momentum going and grab another win.
Looking ahead: Chivas host the Montreal Impact at "home" on Saturday night. Chivas have never lost to the Impact, and Montreal sit at the bottom of their conference at the moment, so it certainly looks like a winnable game for the Goats. But will Montreal in fact break their historic duck and put the Goats' good week to a halt? We'll find out on Saturday.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!