Chivas USA's tentative first half, shutout loss to Portland Timbers leaves Goats trailing rest of pack
Chivas USA continued to follow the good with the ugly on Saturday night and, as a result, again sit alone in the Western Conference cellar.
After kicking off the second half of the season with a promising four-game winning streak, the Goats find themselves chasing the rest of the pack following a season-long four-game losing skid. The latest misstep was a 2-0 loss to the Portland Timbers at Providence Park, with the offensive inefficiency again at the forefront of the troubles.
"It didn't go well, especially the first half," head coach Wilmer Cabrera told reporters in Portland. "We were very tentative with the ball and lost it in transition, and [the Timbers] took advantage of that."
Chivas USA were ambitious early, but that left them exposed. In the 10th minute, Diego Valeri lulled Eriq Zavaleta to sleep, creating space in transition before beating Dan Kennedy from distance. It was an issue that surfaced in the Goats' previous road games -- at DC United and Colorado -- and something they've failed to overcome as captain Carlos Bocanegra recovers from a concussion.
"We knew we shouldn't give [Valeri] that type of space," Cabrera said. "They stole the ball and on the counter took advantage."
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The Goats, meanwhile, we're credited with only one on-target shot, their lack of firepower leading to a third straight goal-less showing.
Chivas USA, who went into the weekend with the fewest shots per game in MLS, have not shown an ability to erase deficits. Offensively, there wasn't enough to claw back Saturday, as they dropped to 1-9-1 on the year when allowing the first goal.
Erick "Cubo" Torres, fresh off his first appearance in the MLS All-Star Game, failed to score for the third consecutive game.
"They were getting good pressure on us," midfielder Nathan Sturgis told reporters. "We didn't do a good job of moving the ball and being dynamic. That allowed them to really lock us in certain spots."