Here was a rare game, where the winning team was upset for taking their foot off the pedal after taking a four goal lead, and the home team was...not happy, exactly, but felt better, I guess, for scoring half of the goals of their opponents. In the end, Chivas USA fell 4-2 to the visiting Seattle Sounders on Wednesday night. Two goals each from Obafemi Martins and Andy Rose in the first half put the game to bed. And then...well, the result was the same, but Chivas managed to claw two goals back in the second half, courtesy of Marky Delgado and Ryan Finley.
The first half was pretty atrocious from a Goats perspective, let's be real. Martins opened the scoring in the 11th minute, with a touch on the ball off a corner from Brad Evans that was nodded down in front of goal by Chad Marshall. Then, Martins grabbed another goal five minutes later as the Sounders went on a counterattack off a turnover and Chivas folded easily.
Rose grabbed his first goal in the 38th minute off an Evans free kick, as the English midfielder had to make a bit of an acrobatic finish to get in the goal. He scored a much easier goal four minutes later, again on a free kick taken from practically the same spot, this time with a header.
Sounders fans were mad that their team "let Chivas get back into the game" in the second half. Yes, they may have let the Goats get two goals, but the outcome of the game wasn't in doubt. Still, Delgado did well to finally, finally break CUSA's scoreless streak, which had grown to third-longest in league history, just before breaking the team record for scorelessness. He sent a ball in, then as his teammates had trouble getting a shot off in the box, and eventually made a far post run to head in Eric Avila's cross in the 51st minute. It was a bit of a bloop, but Delgado did a lot of hard work on the play and frankly, the team deserves for some bounces to go their way.
Then, just before the hour mark, Finley drew a penalty as Zach Scott was beaten to an open ball in the box and sent the forward flying. An argument between teammates ensued over who would take the PK, and Finley won, as his penalty narrowly beat Seattle 'keeper Stefan Frei and cut Seattle's lead on the night in half.
Here are some talking points coming out of the game:
Set piece defending was atrocious: There's no other way to describe it. Yes, they gave up a bad goal in the run of play, too, but giving up three goals on the night due to an inability to mark opponents properly means teams are going to light you up, and that's what happened. Yes, the good news is that Seattle didn't score any more in the 2nd half, and so it appears Chivas made the requisite adjustments. That's only partially true, however, as Seattle clearly wanted to play out the second 45 with their lead intact and the players healthy following the game. It's kind of unfair to give the full credit to CUSA with the second half pretty much irrelevant by that point. Want to really show improvement? Don't give up four goals in the first half, then try to lock down your opponent for 90 minutes.
Same stupid PK fight, but different outcome: Finley was playing in his 13th MLS game for Chivas, and got a goal. That's good news for the Goats, who have been desperate for scoring, especially from their forwards not named Erick Torres, and with Cubo out, the opportunities for the strikers who did see the field would never be better.
But as we saw in 2013, when players fight over who gets to take penalties, it can be a disaster. On multiple occasions last season, players fought with their teammates over taking the PK, then missed or got saved on the actual attempt. Finley scored his first MLS goal (second competitive goal in all competitions) for Chivas, but he almost literally had to fight off Felix Borja for the honors, as he held onto the ball until Borja got out of his way. Wilmer Cabrera spun it as a positive later, saying he was glad the players were so eager to score that they fought for the penalty, but I find it completely distasteful and counterproductive. Why spend your energy arguing with a teammate over taking a penalty? You look ridiculous, and unless you are both stars (which they weren't in this case), you also look desperate. In the end, it worked out, but will this fire up both players to start scoring regularly? We better hope so.
No rest, no reprieve: Chivas are back in action right away, as they travel to Ohio to take on the Columbus Crew for the only time this season on Sunday. The Crew have had their share of ups and downs this season, so it's hard to know what to expect from them, but they are clinging onto the final playoff spot in the East at the moment, so they'll have plenty of motivation against CUSA. Will we see a reversal of recent results, or more of the same? Stay tuned, Goats fans.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!