Chivas USA wilt under the D.C. sun

Chivas USA's discouraging inaugural season continued Saturday as the
squad endured a 3-0 loss to D.C. United at a steamy RFK Stadium.

Similar to the teams' first meeting in the MLS season opener in April,
Chivas dictated the pace of the game early, but failed to translate that
into a score and fell victim to United's opportunistic ways thanks to two
rapid-fire goals just before halftime. Tallies from Santino Quaranta and
Jamil Walker sentenced Los Rayados to an uphill climb that proved
unsurmountable.

"It was a tough loss," said striker Rodrigo Lopez, who made his MLS debut
upon entering in the 84th minute. "I thought we did good in the first half.
In the second half the team was tired, we were down 2-0, and the third goal
came and everyone just put their heads down."

Led by captain Ramon Ramirez, Chivas tested the defending champions in the
first half, distributing the ball crisply and challenging D.C.'s players with
deft touches in one-on-one situations. On several occasions the home side
were forced into clumsy fouls like the one that earned D.C. holding midfielder
Clyde Simms the game's first yellow card half an hour in, only three minutes
after he entered the match.

Antonio Martinez and Armando Begines looked particularly sharp as they
roamed the left flank, getting behind the defense and creating several
opportunities with quick combination play.

But United kept their composure and center back Bobby Boswell took advantage
of a Chivas turnover in midfield to race forward and set up Quaranta for the
score that proved to be the game winner.

"I think in the first 40 minutes we at least played the same level as our
opponent. The difference was we made more mistakes than they did," said
Chivas coach Hans Westerhof.

Once United got on top, they were able to settle into a possession rhythm
that Chivas USA were hard-pressed to disrupt as they chased the ball in
field-level temperatures topping 110 degrees.

"It was very tough," said Martinez of the heat. "It affected both teams.
Obviously, they scored the two goals at the end of the first half, so they
were the team that was going to keep possession and we were the team that
was going to start running and chasing them."

"You can see that they have been playing together for a long time," said
Westerhof of United. "They moved better than we did. When you play against
D.C. United at this level and you're down 2-0, it's almost impossible to
come back."

Chivas will try to break their three-game losing streak when they return to
the East Coast for next Sunday's match against the MetroStars at Giants
Stadium, and the anticipated addition of refuerzos Francisco Palencia, Juan
Pablo Garcia and Hector "Pirata" Castro offers cause for optimism.

"You can't let it bother you," said Martinez of the club's mounting losses.
"You have to keep battling. We're getting a couple of new players and
hopefully they'll make the difference for us."

Charles Boehm is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.


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