Chivas, still alive, rue slow start vs. Philly

CARSON, Calif. — When Chivas USA are on their game, they’ve shown that they can consistently challenge some of the league’s top teams. The problem is that too often, Chivas USA get going after having already fallen behind.

Such was the case again on Sunday when a slow start put Chivas down to Philadelphia in the 59th minute. Only after the goal did Robin Fraser’s side respond and begin finding space behind the Union defense, ultimately being rescued by Juan Pablo Ángel’s 90th-minute goal.

WATCH HIGHLIGHTS: Chivas USA 1, Philadelphia 1

“I can’t believe I’m saying this 32 games into the season, but we have to get things going before we get scored on,” said goalkeeper Dan Kennedy. “Playing a team that just played on Thursday, it should have been how it was in the last 15 minutes, that’s how we should have started the game.”

The one point earned keeps Chivas’s faint hopes of the postseason alive. But that was scant solace for the Rojiblancos, who remain four points out of the 10th and final playoff spot with only two games to play.

“Earlier in the year, you looked at this as a positive that your back was up against the wall and you fought through it,” midfielder Nick LaBrocca told MLSsoccer.com. “At this time, there’s no moral victories, it’s all about points.”

It was only thanks to the skill of Ángel that Chivas managed to salvage one point on this night. The equalizer came in the 90th minute, and the home side were perhaps unlucky not to steal full points when defender David Junior Lopes shanked a chance from inside the box in the waning moments.

Now, Chivas need help. The New York Red Bulls hold the final playoff spot at the moment, and Portland, D.C. United, and Chicago are all on the outside but closer to the Red Bulls than Chivas are.

“In sports, you certainly like to control your own destiny and that was many games ago for us and now, not only do we have to sit in wait, but we have to take care of ourselves,” said head coach Robin Fraser. “But it’s better to have a lifeline and some chance than none at all but we could have and should have put ourselves in a better position.”

Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at adam.m.serrano@gmail.com and on Twitter: @adamserrano