Disjointed offense dooms Chivas USA
CARSON, Calif. – For the third consecutive year, Chivas USA are second-best in Los Angeles. The Goats dropped a tight 2-1 decision to in-stadium rivals Galaxy on Sunday evening, a result which sees LA take home the 2010 SuperClásico trophy with a 4-1 aggregate score.
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The Red-and-White showed promise in the game’s opening minutes, hitting the Galaxy’s upright in the eighth minute, but ultimately fell victim to LA's usual suspects in goal-scorers Edson Buddle and David Beckham.
The result condemned Chivas USA to their third loss in three games and officially eliminated them from playoff contention.
“We came out with a lot of energy and we created some chances,” said Chivas USA head coach Martín Vásquez. “[But] when you allow [the best team in the league] space or to get behind the line of defense, you’re going to be punished.”
Chivas USA pushed hard in the second half and were rewarded for their efforts in the 64th minute thanks to an Alan Gordon header. But the same problems that have plagued the Goats all year – sporadic finishing and disjointed offense – reared their ugly heads against LA.
“If you watched the game, Chivas was the better team on the field,” said midfielder Paulo Nagamura. “We dominated most of the game, but we couldn’t put the chances away. It’s very hard to play when you’re two down against a team like the Galaxy.”
Without the services of usual centerbacks Darío Delgado and Michael Umaña, Chivas USA used a patchwork lineup that included Ante Jazic and Carlos Borja in central defense and Justin Braun on the right wing.
“Not having your two centerbacks that have played for you all year long, you find yourself trying to replace those two guys,” said Vásquez. “You look at your depth and you try to find the best two guys. We had a chance to train this week, knowing that we didn’t have Michael and Darío. Our idea was to use Ante’s experience there.”
The Goats also relied on youthful exuberance to shut down LA’s potent midfield threats. Ben Zemanski and Michael Lahoud were tasked with hassling Beckham and Landon Donovan during the first half, and Jorge Flores and Rodolfo Espinoza joined the cause in the second.
“Looking at their strengths, you try to shut down their key players and also look at how you can create opportunities to create chances and score goals,” said Vásquez. “That’s what we did during the week and we felt comfortable going with that group.”
Sunday’s loss marked the third consecutive season in which the Goats have failed to beat Los Angeles, a statistic that’s not lost on Chivas USA’s players.
“It’s a Clásico,” said Nagamura. “If you ask anybody in this locker room, they’re going to say the same thing: nobody wants to lose to the Galaxy – especially the way that they won tonight. We dominated most of the game, but we couldn’t put the chances away.”