Chivas USA frustrated with late goals

Goats suffer 3rd loss in a row on a last-minute goal


Chivas USA just can’t seem to stop conceding late goals. What started out as a troubling coincidence has become a real problem.


Against the Columbus Crew on May 15th, it was Guillermo Barros Schelotto with a penalty kick in the 90th minute. A week later against Real Salt Lake, it was Fabian Espindola with a pacey counterattack goal in the 89th minute.

On Saturday, it was D.C. United’s Carey Talley hitting a penalty kick in the 91st minute to hand Chivas their third last-minute defeat in three games.

“Obviously, it’s very disappointing,” said striker Justin Braun. “It stinks giving up those late goals. It’s three weeks in a row now. That’s something we can’t keep allowing. You can’t win games if you keep allowing late goals. We need to do whatever we can to stop this.”

The Goats came out strong Saturday, scoring ion the 16th minute through Braun. Then, after conceding two goals, the side rallied to even the score in the 79th. But another late goal erased all of Chivas’ hard work to condemn the team their fourth consecutive loss.

“We have to stay focused,” said Chivas head coach Martín Vásquez after the match. “Don’t lose our concentration. I feel that maybe [we] also [lacked] a little bit of confidence today. At times we weren’t good with the ball. There’s lots of work to do.”

Chivas started a new-look lineup on Saturday evening that included usual right back Mariano Trujillo at left back and usual central midfielder Marcelo Saragosa at right back.

“Saragosa has played that position,” Vásquez said. “We went with him because, in last game with [Jesús] “Gringo” [Padilla] and Carlos [Borja] on the left, we felt that there wasn’t much experience there. With Marcelo, we got a little bit of experience. With Mariano, [left back] maybe isn’t his position, but he’s a smart guy.”

The first XI also included team captain Sacha Kljestan, who had joined the team in DC after failing to make Bob Bradley’s 23-man World Cup roster.

“He did okay,” said Vásquez. “He helped us to find the ball and to try and control the game.”

Stepping up big for Chivas all evening was goalkeeper Zach Thornton. The 2009 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year parried away a number of good efforts from the home side, including a 1st minute close-range save on D.C.’s Danny Allsopp.

He was sent off with a red card for taking down Santino Quaranta in the 90th minute, however, and will be unavailable for Chivas’ next match against New York.

“He was in top form tonight,” Vásquez said. “He kept us in the game. Zach came up big.”

Chivas now go on the road to New York for the team’s final match before the 2010 FIFA World Cup break. The team will be in desperate need of points if they are to stay in the Western Conference Playoff race.

“We have to get three points,” said Braun. “It’s a must at this point. We have a losing streak going at this point. We need to go into the [World Cup] break with a win.”