US Open Cup: Another slow start, another humbling loss for Chivas USA

Carlos Alvarez and Carolina Railhawks

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USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret that scoring has been scarce for struggling Chivas USA during their 10-week lull. Scoring first, though, has been altogether nonexistent.

The Goats started slow once again Wednesday night before tying in the second half and eventually bowing out of the US Open Cup tournament with a 3-1 overtime loss to the Carolina RailHawks.

Chivas USA haven’t scored first in any match since March 30 – a streak of 10 games in which they’ve been outscored by a combined 24-5 margin.

“We didn’t start the way we wanted to,” midfielder Laurent Courtois said after the loss Wednesday. “We’re still in the process where we’re trying to learn the concepts the coach wants us to do.”

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With numerous defensive lapses and an inability to generate an attack, the Goats haven’t shown a knack for coming back. They nearly pulled off the road victory Wednesday but Walter Vilchez, who scored the equalizer early in the second half, had his potential game-winning header hit the crossbar in stoppage time. A flick off the ensuing rebound was denied at the line.

Then, following a brief break, Chivas USA were back to their slow-starting ways.

“We didn’t react,” Vilchez said. “It cost us.”

The RailHawks scored twice in the first of two 15-minute overtime periods, feeding off the home crowd and an opportunity to upset yet another MLS side.

“That’s mental,” interim head coach Sasha van der Most said. “For our team that has gone through a tough season, at a moment like that when you think you’re coming back and think you win the game, you go into overtime and get scored on followed by a second one, it’s really hard to overcome.”

Players, at least, are still holding out hope. Newly appointed head coach José Luis “Guero” Real is scheduled to be introduced Thursday near the StubHub Center in Carson, as the club hopes the change will provide a spark.

“With time and a little bit more effort from everybody,” Courtois said, “we can reach the goals in front of us.”