Goats Have A Lot of Ground To Make Up
Just 12 days after getting their first-ever win at Robertson Stadium, Chivas USA once again headed down to Houston on Sunday evening to take on the Houston Dynamo.
Having already faced each other three times this season (twice in MLS competition and once in the US Open Cup), the fourth meeting between the two sides was in the second group-stage game of SuperLiga 2010.
After conceding an early sixth-minute goal to Lovel Palmer, the Red-and-White fought back and finally found an equalizer in the 71st minute, thanks to a headed goal from Jesus Padilla.
WATCH: FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS
The result hands the Goats their first point of the 2010 SuperLiga campaign and moves them up into third place in Group A, behind Puebla and Houston but ahead of Pachuca. However, to have a shot of advancing to the semifinal stage, team will need to beat los Tuzos on Wednesday and must hope that Puebla do the same against Houston.
"It's not a bad result for us tonight," said Chivas USA midfielder Rodolfo Espinoza after the match. "We would have liked to get a victory, but a win against Pachuca on Wednesday will give us a decent chance of going through to the knockout stages of the tournament. The team moved the ball well and I think a draw is a fair result."
The Red-and-White looked lethargic early on, and only really found their chemistry on the far side of halftime.
"It was definitely a tale of two halves tonight," said Chivas USA head coach Martín Vásquez. "It hurt us that we couldn't find our rhythm early – Houston controlled the game for the first 15 or 20 minutes. More than anything, we just had moments where we lost our concentration, but with some patience and good possession of the ball, we were able to get a good shot on net in the second half and get the draw. We can be proud of our determination tonight."
As promised, Vásquez used Sunday evening's game as a chance to shuffle his lineup a bit while at the same time giving his new signings some minutes on the field. The Goats employed a 4-5-1 structure for much of the game, handing the reigns if the offense to new striker Giancarlo Maldonado up top.
"I feel pretty good," said Maldonado after just his second match with Chivas USA. "With each game, I'm finding more rhythm and comfort with my teammates on the field."
Chivas USA will now return home to the Home Depot Center for Wednesday's game against Mexican First Division side Pachuca. The Goats will then return to MLS play with a trip to dreaded Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday to battle reigning MLS champions Real Salt Lake.
"Overall, we can walk out of here with our heads held high," said Chivas USA midfielder Michael Lahoud. "We have two important games coming up next week. When it comes to the next game, we have to take care of business against Pachuca, which we're confident we can do."