Denver, Colorado. Chivas USA travelled to Dick's Sporting Goods Park to take on the Colorado Rapids on Friday as they were looking to get back on the right track after losing to D.C. United 3-1 last week. However, much of last week's mishaps apparently reoccurred as our Goats fell 3-0 to the Rapids to continue their two-game losing streak after reeling off four wins in a row.
Not only did the Rojiblancos lose, but they did so in humiliating fashion. Tonight not only was a loss of potential points, but also at the hands of former Goats Nick LaBrocca and Carlos Alvarez. LaBrocca opened the match's scoring with a strike in the 16th minute off up-and-comer Homegrown player Dillon Serna's feed from a broken play. Only ten minutes later, Drew Moor knocked in another goal, this time off a corner from Dillon Powers.
Finally, recently traded Goat Alvarez delivered a beautiful pass against his former team, to Gabriel Torres to seal the deal at 3-0. Unfortunately, the Goats were never really competitive within this match from start to finish.
Here's what we learned from tonight's match:
Opportunities. A club needs the ball to have any chance of garnering points. A team requires possession, accurate passes, solid movement without the ball and eventual shots on goals in order to create scoring opportunities. Chivas had none of those things this evening.
The Goats were destroyed on attempts on goal at a 4:1 ratio. The match saw the Rapids repeatedly outclass Chivas' midfield to take 16 shots of goal. In contrast, the Goats were only able to make four total attempts with only one on target, and even that one wasn't a great shot. That type of differential on chances make a win, or even a draw, relatively impossible.
Chivas' time of possession was also outdone by the Rapids by eight percentage points, a figure that's nonetheless misleading because they never really had a handle on the game. Furthermore, the Rapids basically had the match in hand by the start of the second half and really stopped pressing. Not coincidentally, Colorado outpassed Chivas by almost 70 attempts. Statistics, such as these, clearly exhibit a stark contrast in ball control and more importantly contribute to the lopsidedness of the game's final point tally.
Shake it up. "Go with what works" is a solid motto to both work and play by. On the flip side, when things don't work, it's often a good idea to change things up. Last week's DCU match was a complete disaster. Therefore, Goats' coach Wilmer Cabrera decided to go with an entirely different starting eleven.
New to the starting lineup were five of the ten field players. Former Rapids midfielder (and Florida native) Nathan Sturgis, recently acquired right back Akira Kaji and a fully healed Andrew Jean-Baptiste were inserted to add some defensive stability to the Goats' squad, not to mention provide cover for the injured Carlos Bocanegra and Bobby Burling. Both Leandro Barrera and a returning Eric Avila (back from injury and defense) were inserted to their respective forward and midfield positions. Cabrera's intention was to hopefully spur a Goats' attack that often lacks any creativity outside of the exceptional Erick Torres. Both Mauro Rosales and Marvin Chavez sat out with hamstring issues, limiting the creative options all the more. Without Cubo, these Goats would have a far more difficult time accumulating any points whatsoever.
Even with the wholesale changes, Chivas lacked in both substantial attack or necessary defense in order to provide any noticeable competition for the Rapids tonight. Fortunately, the Goats did get to see what these players had to offer along with newcomer Matthew Dunn in order to assess their capability to make any further contributions to the team. While Dunn entered a game that was a lost cause, he did show a few glimpses of promise in his MLS debut. Can he turn that into more minutes and positive contributions moving forward with the first team?
Where to go now? Anywhere but here. Chivas had begun to figure things out over their five-game unbeaten streak where they amassed thirteen total points and re-acclimated themselves into the Western Conference playoff race. Even after two matches, that streak now seems miles away as the team is currently mired in a two-game losing streak while being outscored 6-1.
The Goats' imminent deficiencies need to be assessed, addressed and remedied as quickly as possible so that the entire season isn't lost. There is now plenty of time between tonight and Chivas' next match on Sunday, August 3rd against FC Dallas. Luckily for Chivas, that game is back at home in the StubHub Center and in front of their devout Union Ultras and Black Army 1850 supporters clubs. After these last two matches, the Goats will need all the help that they can get. We're all on their side and ever hopeful for a positive outcome.
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