Chivas show good signs, but still lack urgency in stalemate

Juan Pablo Angel and Jay DeMerit

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CARSON, Calif. – Urgency in the final third has been one of the major focal points of head coach Robin Fraser’s plans for Chivas USA. But as the club’s scoreless draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night showed, obtaining it remains a work in progress.

In the second half, the undermanned Goats brought more pressure in the midfield and showed the flashes of a dangerous offense. But it wasn’t enough as they were blanked for the eighth time this season – their sixth time in 10 home games.

OPTA Chalkboard: Final push from Chivas falls just short

HIGHLIGHTS: Chivas USA 0, Vancouver 0

“At the end of the day, we have to do things better to win games and certainly a big part of that is our approach and the urgency,” Fraser told reporters after the draw. “We have quality players and, in this league, so many games are won with the way that we approach a game, and you look at a lot of the teams that have been successful and it is about confidence and urgency.”

After failing to generate many scoring chances in the first half, Fraser made his only substitution of the night at the start of the second half, inserting fleet-footed winger Ryan Smith for Laurent Courtois. A move that allowed Chivas to put three players in the center of the midfield, which not only allowed them to counteract a physical Vancouver side, but also create more chances.

Those chances came almost entirely in the last 25 minutes as the Rojiblancos began to repeatedly test Whitecaps goalkeeper Joe Cannon, but could not break through.

“When we adjusted the formation, it was gave us better chances to put more pressure on the field and it showed in the second half,” forward Juan Pablo Ángel told MLSsoccer.com. “We didn’t create much, but for the first time this season – and this is my own view – we outplayed a team at home and we felt that we had the majority of the possession.”

FULL LINEUPS AND BOX SCORE

Although his men failed to show that consistent urgency throughout the 90 minutes, Fraser admitted that his team has the right properties to eventually turn the corner. 

“There are a lot of experienced professionals on this team,” he said, “and they know as [well] any of us, we can talk about it until we’re blue in the face, but certainly, you can do everything that you can to stress it. … We have this quality in our group and we’ve seen it – not as often as we’d like to see, but we’ve definitely seen it.”

Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at adam.m.serrano@gmail.com.