After keeping things even and going into the half with a scoreless tie, the wheels fell off the bus early in the 2nd half as Chivas USA allowed 2 goals in 7 minutes in a 3-0 loss to the Columbus Crew in Columbus. The loss extends the team's current winless streak to 9 games.
Here are a few key observations from Sunday's game:
Two examples of failing to close out on the attacker - The first two goals given up were a tale of giving the shooter too much space to get his shot off.
Goal 1 - In the first goal, Marky Delgado joins Akira Kaji to double up on Waylon Francis on the left corner of the field. This movement coupled with an extremely low back line leaves Justin Meram completely open at the top corner of the box.
Take a look at where Andrew Jean-Baptiste is positioned at this very moment. He's essentially playing as a 2nd goalkeeper and is probably blocking Dan Kennedy's view in the process. Making matters worse is that he's in a defensive zone and by the time Meram parades his way through the box, AJB still hesitates to make any ground on him allowing Meram to make a slick curved shot for the game's first goal.
"When Waylon played me the ball, I took a touch, I wanted to serve it and no one stepped (up)," Meram said. "I figured, let me take another touch, and I took another touch and that was my spot, and I let it go."
DK sums it up in one motion:
Goal 2 - In the second goal, Agustin Pelletieri lobs a ill-advised ball across the field to Kaji, only to have it intercepted by Meram. Once again, with nothing but green in front of him, Meram makes a direct attack at goal.
AJB does a decent job containing and slowing down the attack, but considering how close to goal he already is, fails to close down. Once the ball gets that close to goal, there's zero point to containing. The defender needs to close down on the shooter. On the other hand, can't excuse the lazy pass by Pelletieri that put CUSA in the position to begin with.
Younger CB Pairing Seeing More Minutes - After seeing a slow, aging backline get turned by the skill and athleticism of Obafemi Martins and crew on Wednesday, it's good to see Wilmer Cabrera go with the youth movement and start AJB and Eriq Zavaleta in the middle of the defense. With the playoffs out of reach and the lack of a game-influencing veteran CB, right now would be a great time to start giving these budding young talents some valuable experience.
A Rise in Goals Allowed - While CUSA was able to finally end the ridiculous scoreless streak at just under 600 last week against Seattle (interestingly enough, the first game without Cubo), the equally bad trend of getting shellacked has become a growing concern. In the past three games, CUSA has allowed 10 total goals (3 to LA, 4 to Seattle, and 3 to Columbus). It's a far cry from those many 0-1 scorelines we've seen earlier this year.
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