Goat Notes: Tactical switch doesn't pay in loss to Fire
CARSON, Calif. – Chivas USA are in the middle of a horrid stretch of results, and head coach Robin Fraser is looking for whatever he can to get his team back on track.
Last Friday against Chicago, that meant a formation switch (as well as some lineup juggling), as Fraser trotted his side out in an orthodox 4-4-2 at The Home Depot Center. It produced a heartbreaking 2-1 stoppage-time defeat.
Following the match, Fraser admitted that he was “ultimately not at all” satisfied with what he saw from his side.
“We need to look at different ways to go about doing it if the way that we’re doing it isn’t getting results," he said. "For us, it was a look at matching up against the way they play out of a diamond and ironically, they came in matched up playing out of a 4-3-3. But we need to look at things because, for sure, we couldn’t keep doing the same things that we’re doing, so for us it was an opportunity to try a different look.”
Valencia debuts, Pearce back at left back
One of Fraser’s most notable changes last Friday was allowing John Alexander Valencia to get his first MLS start at center back, which pushed Heath Pearce to the left back position in place of Ante Jazic.
A starter during the preseason, Valencia partnered alongside center back Rauwshan McKenzie. That meant Pearce, a backline regular, was moved out to his natural left back position while Jazic watched from the bench.
“Certainly, we felt like it was a bit of a luxury to have a US national team left back, a Canadian national team left back and you look for opportunities to get as many guys as you can opportunities to play,” said Fraser. “We feel like we have some good left backs and we’re going to make some changes, it’s not a difficult switch to make given the caliber of the left backs. It was just an opportunity to see John play and opportunity to see Heath play at left back.”
Home Depot Center struggles continue
Chivas were so close to their first point at home this season, but due to Marco Pappa’s last-minute heroics, they suffered their fifth straight loss in the not-so-friendly confines of The Home Depot Center.
Despite their dismal record, the Goats have been competitive in each of their five home tilts, falling by a single goal each time.
Their next chance to get it right comes in two weeks when they take on cross-hall rivals LA Galaxy. For Chivas to get that elusive home victory, the answer is simple.
“Whatever it takes,” Juan Pablo Ángel told reporters after the defeat to Chicago. “This is obviously not the scenario we were looking for. We need to make sure that we keep our heads high and we turn this around somehow. At the end of the day, we are in it together, for better or worse, and we have to make sure that we get out of this as soon as possible
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org