Disappointing Loss in Columbus
Up until the 90th minute of Chivas USA’s match against the Columbus Crew, any Goats fan would have been proud of the 0-0 result that seemed likely. Getting a draw on the road to the Eastern Conference’s best team is nothing to shake a stick at, and the Red-and-White had certainly earned the point.
And then a penalty kick was awarded to the Columbus in the final moments and all of Chivas USA’s hard work was brushed aside for a 1-0 Crew victory.
“We’re very disappointed,” said Chivas USA head coach Martín Vásquez. “We played well against a very good team and we go home empty-handed.”
The penalty was awarded to Columbus after Chivas USA striker Justin Braun took down Crew defender Chad Marshall in the box on a set piece. Argentine veteran and 2008 MLS MVP Guillermo Barros Schelotto then stepped up and calmly slotted home for the 1-0 victory.
“First of all, the foul that the referee gave leading to the free kick, there was poor defending, or lazy defending,” said Vásquez of the sequence that lead to the penalty. “I have my doubts about the previous foul that led to that [penalty] and that’s the empty feeling you’re left with after the game.”
The Goats gave the Crew all they could handle, maintaining good possession through the midfield and largely shutting down Columbus’ dangerous attackers.
“I think we did a good job of competing with and frustrating Columbus,” said Sacha Kljestan. “I thought we disrupted their game and played our game very well. We possessed the ball pretty well and were unlucky to not get away with at least a point.”
The Goats looked particularly dangerous in the second half, almost scoring twice around the game’s hour mark, but both efforts were cleared off the goal line by Crew defender Gino Padula.
“I felt for many minutes our team responded well, even in the first 45 minutes,” said Vásquez. “We had the ball, we had the possession, we had the tempo and we had a couple clear chances to put one in.”
Chivas USA will now return home to Los Angeles to begin preparing for next Saturday’s matchup with reigning MLS Champions Real Salt Lake. Not joining the team for the trip back, however, are co-captains Kljestan and Jonathan Bornstein, who will travel to Princeton, N.J., on Sunday to join the US National Team Camp.
“I think the way we played tonight,” said Kljestan. “We played our brand of football that Martin has been trying to get us to play, so we feel good about that, but we’ve got to get a result next weekend. Obviously, Jonny and I won’t be there, and some other guys need to step up. So, I’m looking forward to watching the game.”