A Step In the Right Direction
Chivas USA’s performance in the team’s 1-1 draw with Philadelphia on Saturday wasn’t perfect, but the Goats will take it. The point is the Red-and-White’s first in nearly two months and snaps a club-record six game losing streak.
The Goats went down early, conceding a goal in the 21st minute to Philadelphia rookie Danny Mwanga, but were able to find an equalizer through Blair Gavin just before halftime for the eventual draw.
“A tie is not something to brag about, but it’s a plus because of the results we’ve gotten in the last few games,” said Chivas USA Head Coach Martín Vásquez after the match. “Our goal tonight was to win, of course, but we were unlucky a couple of times and I’m pleased with the effort.”
Chivas USA looked strong in the final twenty minutes of the first half, but came out flat for the second forty-five and struggled to maintain any possession against the Union. The substitute additions of Chukwudi Chijindu and Ben Zemanski helped a little, but the Goats were still on their heels for much of the second half.
“We have to give credit to the other team,” said Vásquez of Chivas USA’s difficulties. “We weren’t making good decisions. Instead of being patient, we were trying to be more direct.”
Chivas USA was bolstered by the return of team captain Jonathan Bornstein, who had been at the World Cup in South Africa with the United States National Team. Bornstein played 85 minutes before coming off with slight cramping in his groin.
“I felt extremely good,” he said after the match. “It felt like the runs I was making were good and we had a lot of opportunities to create stuff tonight.”
Bornstein was slotted into the left midfield in front of left fullback Ante Jazic. It’s a position that he has played before and feels comfortable taking on.
“I thought Johnny helped us and did well,” said Vásquez. “Johnny that has played in that position and helps the team to be stronger. Just having him on the field helps us and helps our players.”
The Goats also got a strong performance from crafty midfielder Osael Romero, who really seems to have finally adapted to the tough style of play in MLS.
“It’s finally clicking [for him],” said Vásquez of Romero. “He has made the transition, and that transition is about the pace and the speed of the game and how physical it gets sometimes.”
Chivas USA will now set its sights on a fourth-round US Open Cup matchup at hated rival Houston on Tuesday evening. But after a good draw on Saturday night and a solid win last Tuesday against the Austin Aztex in the Cup’s third round, the Goats will feel be feeling confident ahead of their trip to Texas.
“The biggest thing for us to do is just be smart and be professional,” said midfielder Michael Lahoud of the match with the Dynamo “It’s a midweek game, but if we come with the mentality that we’re going to outwork Houston, I think good things will happen for us.”