Chivas USA lack of focus causing poor results

Vásquez: "We have lost our concentration and that has hurt us."

CARSON, Calif. -- For Chivas USA, the problem is focus.

More specifically, the Goats have struggled to maintain their concentration during the closing minutes of recent games, and they’ve paid dearly for it.

Last weekend at Columbus, the team gifted a 90th minute penalty to Guillermo Barros Schelotto to lose 1-0. This Saturday it was Fabian Espindola who took advantage of the Red-and-White’s late napping, leaping onto a misplayed ball for an 89th minute goal and a 2-1 Real Salt Lake victory

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“We have lost our concentration and that has hurt us in these past two results,” said Chivas USA head coach Martín Vásquez. “But we have to move forward. We have to continue working hard and learning from our mistakes.”

The loss to Salt Lake is the Goats’ third home defeat of the season, a troubling statistic for the Chivas USA faithful given that, in just ten games this year, the Red-and-White have already accumulated as many home losses as they had during all of last season.

“It’s another three points dropped at home,” said striker Chukwudi Chijindu. “It’s not good. We have to do a better job of closing out each half and I think we’ll be alright. It’s definitely a negative feeling.”

Saturday’s match was the first of a run of games for Chivas USA that the club will play without team co-captains Sacha Kljestan and Jonathan Bornstein, who are gone on National Team duty. But while the veteran pair’s absence was certainly evident against RSL, the Goats refuse to hang the loss on it.

“Anytime you take the heart and soul out of your team, it’s going to hurt you,” said Chijindu. “But we should have guys that can step in and be hungry to cover their positions. It wasn’t necessarily just those two guys missing – it was more of a collective play. We had a couple of lapses, and we got punished.”

If the home side looked a bit lackadaisical in the first half, they were certainly more potent in the second. The Goats attacked with numbers and finally evened the score in the 79th minute thanks to a beautiful goal from Justin Braun.

“Even though we didn’t create much in the first half, we came back in the second,” said Vásquez. “We were able to get a nice goal and play better, but we lost our focus in the 89th minute and lost the game. We can’t lose our concentration like that.”

Chivas USA now faces a trip to Eastern Conference bottom-feeders DC United on May 29th and will be in desperate need of points as they try to stay in the playoff hunt.

“We need to buckle down,” said Chijindu. “We have to take a look at ourselves. We have to look in the mirror and figure out what we can each do individually. That’s going to help out everyone collectively.”