Chivas USA acknowledge it won't be easy playing without suspended Eric Avila
Avila must sit out the Goats’ road match against the Seattle Sounders on Sunday after receiving a red card for his tackle on Darel Russell last week, leaving them without a key piece of the attacking puzzle.
“We are losing one of the most important players for Chivas,” head coach José Luis "Guero" Real told reporters following last week’s 1-0 victory against Toronto FC. “Playing without Avila is not easy for Chivas.”
Chivas USA had to alter their attacking method, moving left midfielder Tristan Bowen to Avila’s usual spot on the right and bringing in Jorge Villafaña to man the left side. The defensive approach remained intact and the Rojiblancos were sound enough to get a dramatic goal from debutant Erick “Cubo” Torres and record their second shutout of the season.
“It definitely affected the game, but everyone from that point on really held their own and then some,” Bowen told reporters. “I got some balls on the line and tried to make the most out of it. I could have been better on the ball, but we got the goal. In the end it’s a win.”
Avila regretted his tackle almost instantly as replays showed him attempting to pull his studs back. By then, it was far too late.
“I never meant to hurt anyone or to do a dirty tackle like that,” Avila told reporters. “I tried to pull out as much as possible … I never touched him with my right studs and my left leg actually got caught on his. We both collided and, obviously, he rolled around and made it seem like it was more than it was.”
Chivas USA were forced to play the final 65 minutes a man down and must now make up for his absence for an entire match, with Bowen -- who set up Torres’ goal -- as the likely candidate to fill in at right midfielder.
Avila returned to MLS on July 4 following a two-week trial period with parent club C.D. Guadalajara. He scored a goal on July 7 in Chivas USA’s 1-1 draw at Montreal.
“Trust me, I was panicking,” Avila said. “I was already mad. When I saw our goal, I just hoped that they’d hold onto it. I was happy for the guys and apologized to all my teammates that it had to be like that.”