It really feels like there's a really bad case of senioritis going around in Goatland. With only a few weeks left and plagued with the distraction of all distractions, it appeared the team had battled bouts of disinterest, of going through the motions, and while Saturday's final score may dictate otherwise, this encounter was not one of them. Chivas USA came out strong against one of MLS's best sides in one of the loudest venues in the nation, regardless of sport. Despite the outcome, they performed well and gave the 38,713 Seattle fans in attendance a bit of a scare.
Obafemi, Again- Obafemi Martins once again has proven that he's a bonafide Goat Killer. The 30-year-old striker (his birthday was Sunday) always seems to give the unathletic Chivas' backline fits with his speed, strength, technical ability, and combo passing. In the 2014 season alone, he has recorded five goals and an assist against CUSA, by far his highest output against any MLS side. Knowing this, its interesting to see Wilmer Cabrera go with the plodding Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Bobby Burling, and Akira Kaji in the back instead of the youthfulness and athleticism of Andrew Jean-Baptiste, for example. He did go with the same starting back line (Kaji-Burling-Hurtado-Toia) in their last matchup against Seattle only to witness SEA score four goals by halftime. Hurtado was so outmatched by Martins that Cabrera was forced to sub him out for AJB. The move paid dividends as the Sounders were held scoreless for the final 45 minutes. In this game, though, Cabrera held steady, as the goals came at a more steady clip.
Scoring Success v Seattle - Despite their defensive struggles, CUSA's offense seems to wake up when playing the Sounders. The two goals scored Saturday were the first goals scored since their last game against Seattle 4 weeks ago (and those goals broke a 6-game scoreless streak). And get this, it was the first time in 14 games that CUSA had a lead in a game (July 5 v Montreal).
Not 1, Not 2, not 3... - Paging LeBron James. Since 9/1 against Galaxy, CUSA has given up at least 3 goals in each of their last 6 games. With 58 goals allowed this season, they're only 9 goals behind the record of 67 set in 2005 and 2013 and considering the current rate conceded per game, I'd say 9 goals in 4 games is unfortunately within reach.
There also seems to be a trend going as they've given up goals in the following sequence: 3,4,3,4,3,4. Here's a prediction, Real Salt Lake drops 3 next weekend and if you're into fantasy, I'd recommend Javier Morales and Joao Plata here. You're welcome.
Give Borja His Credit - If you missed the game and are checking the box score. You're noticing Cubo scored his 15th goal of the season and are probably wondering why the rest of the squad is failing to contribute, The unsung hero of both goals was none other than Felix Borja, who was neither credited for a goal or an assist, but should have been.
In their first goal, Borja's positioning allowed him to work the ball in between 2 pressing defenders and his shot on goal enabled CuboTorres to be all alone for one of the easiest goals of his career (nice cut back, though). It's also important to note that Borja could've easily gone down for a PK but chose to keep the play alive.
Whether it was due to being a goal down or just in their game plan, Seattle's lines were pushing so high on Saturday and CUSA was able to take advantage for their second goal.
Instead of the usual "slow the ball down" or the "rush the ball all by yourself" type counter, it was especially encouraging to see a multitude of players joining in on the attack. Without Leandro Barrera's shot on goal that just nearly missed being a goal of the week nominee, the attack maybe dies out. The shot, along with Cubo's, creates chaos in the box and Borja is there to clean up the mess. While Jalil Anibaba was "credited" for an own goal, Borja deserves the recognition for making it happen.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!