By: Mario Melara
“It just comes down to someone making a play.”
Such sentiments by Chivas USA Captain Jonathan Bornstein perfectly captured the current mood in the Goats locker room. After failing to earn a much needed three points against the visiting Sounders FC this past weekend, players, coaches, and current Chivas staff are beginning to show signs of frustration.
“It’s frustrating not to get the three points. You have to win as many games at home as you can. It hasn’t been going our way, we just have to put away the chances that we do get,” said Bornstein.
With only 11 regular MLS season games remaining, time is running out on the “rojo y blanco” to make a run for a playoff berth. With the Houston Dynamo losing earlier in the day to the New England Revolution, Chivas USA had a golden opportunity to finally move out of last place in the Western Conference, but failed to do so with a 0-0 draw against Seattle.
Chivas USA head Coach Martin Vasquez who has trimmed down the roster and started to define a more regular starting eleven has been positive about his team’s improvement up to this point, but understands that time is running out.
“I think in the second half we showed urgency, but we were not efficient or effective enough to get a goal. This was a bad result for us, as our objective was to earn all three points”, said Vasquez.
The Goats had multiple opportunities in the second half to open up the scoring. Giancarlo Maldonado missed wide right with a shot in the 64th minute, followed by a wasted wide open opportunity in the 6-yard box by Paolo Nagamura in the 68th. A third great scoring opportunity was missed by newly signed Chivas USA forward Alan Gordon, whose header failed to hit the target after a great pass by Justin Braun found him open in the 18-yard box.
Tonight was no picnic in the park. The physicality of the match was prevalent throughout the night, most notably the huge aerial collision between Chivas USA goalkeeper Zack Thornton and Seattle Sounders FC forward Freddy Montero, which saw both players laying on the pitch for an extended period of time, and Thornton requiring a replacement of his contacts. Unable to score, emotions boiled over in the closing minutes of the match when Chivas USA midfielder Mariano Trujillo was ejected for hitting a Sounders FC player in the face with his hands.
“They battled. It was the heat of the game. These things happen, it is part of the game,” said Vasquez.
So what’s next now for Chivas USA? Clearly, someone needs to step up and put this team on their back. The problem is that the revolving door and inconsistent lineups every match allows for no continuity. Time has run out. Choose your final eleven, and stick to your guns Coach Vasquez. The talent is there, but someone needs to step up and make a play.
The sad story in all of this is that the only consistency in this team all season is the ability to hold the last place spot in the Western Conference.
Chivas USA next play Dallas FC on August 21st from Pizza Hut Park in Dallas, TX. To say the team needs all three points would be overstating the obvious. If Chivas USA fail to get any points out of this match, I will conclude that it is, season.