Vásquez unsatisfied with draw vs. Seattle

Chivas USA coach knows time is running out to make playoff push

CARSON, Calif. – On paper, the last six weeks have been pretty great for Chivas USA.

The team won a spot in the US Open Cup semifinals for the first time in club history. They competed in SuperLiga 2010 and finished with a respectable 1-1-1 record in group play. They earned solid results on the road against Houston (a 3-1 victory in the Open Cup on July 6) and Kansas City (a 2-0 victory on July 10th).

In fact, the Red-and-White have lost just twice in the team’s last 11 matches. Not too shabby.

The problem is, however, that many of those non-losses have been draws. Like against Philadelphia on July 3 or Salt Lake on July 24 or Seattle this past Saturday. And when you’re sitting at the bottom of the Western Conference with only 11 games left to play in the 2010 season, draws just don’t cut it anymore.

“I’m not happy with the result because we need the points,” said Chivas USA head coach Martín Vásquez after the team’s 0-0 draw with Seattle. “Overall, I thought we played a solid game. We defended very well. But at the end, we didn’t get the result.

The Goats played a listless first half against the Sounders at the Home Depot Center before finally waking up in the second to put some pressure on their guests.

“The second half, we showed urgency,” said Vásquez. “We weren’t efficient nor effective to get a goal, but we have to continue. Our next opponent is Dallas and we have to approach it with the attitude to win the three points.”

Vásquez used a new-look lineup on Saturday evening that included new signing Alan Gordon up front alongside Justin Braun, Osael Romero on the right flank and Michael Lahoud in the center of the pitch with Paulo Nagamura. Many of the decisions had little to do with tactics, however, and more to do with travel and health considerations.

“There are some guys that we have that are sick,” Vásquez said. “That’s why we made those decisions. We needed a healthy team – the team that could help us to win this game. Jonny [Bornstein] played 90 minutes [for the US National Team against Brazil on Tuesday]. The travel, he’s coming back from an injury. We thought that he could come in and help us in the second half.

“With Giancarlo [Maldonado], the same. It was like 100 degrees in Panama [for Venezuela’s match against Panama]. He had to go from Toronto to Miami to Panama and then all the way back here. Overall, I thought we chose the best team that was going to come in and help us to win the game.”

Saturday evening also saw the return of 2009 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Zach Thornton to the pitch for the Goats after recovering from a high-ankle sprain that had sidelined the veteran for four weeks. He was active all evening and punctuated his night with a leaping save to deny Osvaldo Alonso from 20 yards out.

“He came out big,” Vásquez said. “I think he’s still bothered by his high sprained ankle, but he was solid. He kept a zero. The shot from Osvaldo Alsonso – huge save. It could have been the difference.”

Chivas USA will now travel to Texas to take on an FC Dallas side that hasn’t lost in nine matches. The Goats will need to be at their best if they are going to get a good result, which, at this point in the season, means a victory.

“We need to be looking for a win in every game,” Vásquez said. “Especially because all the other teams in the Western Conference are getting their results. We have to keep moving forward.”