Home debuts not what Chivas expected
So much hope and so much hype went up in a cloud of dust on Saturday.
In Chivas USA's latest disappointement at The Home Depot Center, the Columbus Crew took advantage of mistakes and buried the expansion club 3-0. If it wasn't the early gift Columbus had that killed Chivas, it was certainly the pair of deadly counterattacks that delivered the lethal blow.
And Chivas Version 9.3 was much the same as Chivas Versions 4, 5 and 6. In fact, it was only July and August when the club played well and played at an acceptable and competitive level.
Mexican reinforcements Francisco "Paco" Palencia, Juan Pablo "Loquito" Garcia and Sergio "Matute" Garcia made their Home Depot Center debut, but it was all for nothing.
"We thought this was a new start with Paco and Loco and Matute," Chivas coach Hans Westerhof said. "We wanted to have the best game of the tournament and I think you could see from the beginning that sometimes you need a little bit more patience and a little bit more time."
Again, Chivas' problems were self-inflicted. In the 34th minute, Cornell Glen jumped on a ball after a bad pass-back from a Chivas USA midfielder. Glen slipped the ball under "Matute" Garcia and opened the Crew's account.
In the second half, Crew striker John Wolyniec collected a brace on a pair of counterattacks that started with Chivas pushing forward and leaving space in their wake.
"Before, we played organized and didn't give up any space, but (Saturday) we gave up a lot of room and they benefited. All the mistakes that we made, they took advantage," "Loco" Garcia said. "There was not a lot of difference
technically; it was all a matter of execution."
The high expectations the club had set with a pair of road draws ultimately unraveled in the ever-exhausting fruitless search of an equalizer.
"I made a mistake," Chivas captain Ramon Ramirez said. "The goal came when we were playing our best game, but we lost our organization on the field because we tried to tie the game."
Palencia and "Loco" Garcia were essentially non-factors Saturday. Although the night was billed as the Arrival of the Mexican Artillery, the two former Mexican League marksmen shot blanks and duds all night.
It was not because of a lack of effort, however. But Westerhof said that perhaps Garcia could use a bit of restraint at times.
"Juan Pablo wants to show the world that he's a good player and he wants to win every ball," Westerhof said. "Sometimes it's better to let Ramon do the building up and come a little bit closer to Paco so they can better occupy their positions."
Palencia, meanwhile, said he was disappointed with the way the match turned out.
"I'm sad for the fans and upset in the manner in which we lost," Palencia said. "We just need to keep working and never stop believing in ourselves."
Meanwhile, Westerhof made a couple of changes to the defensive alignment. Most notably, "Matute" Garcia started in place of rookie keeper Brad Guzan. Despite the one-sided score, however, Westerhof did not blame the MLS debutant for the goals.
"This was a good opportunity to test his skills and he did not play bad," Westerhof said. "The goals weren't Matute's fault. The first two goals came off mistakes in the midfield and they did well with their counters. I don't think Matute was at fault in any of the three goals."
Also, defender Armando Begines did not start for the first time in 10 games but did play the final 20 minutes.
"We knew that Columbus was going to play with three forwards: a striker and two wide forwards and in that case, it was better to play with Orlando (Perez) and Ezra (Hendrickson) as fullbacks and Douglas (Sequeira) and
Esteban (Arias) in the middle."
"Loco" Garcia, meanwhile, echoed the sentiments of many of his teammates: He could not put his finger on the team's ills.
"I don't know (what's wrong)," Garcia said. "We've all worked really hard and our training sessions have gone well. We've stayed extra time after training. We've done everything to improve. I don't know what we can attribute this to."
One thing that could benefit both Garcia and Palencia is time. In time, both players will become familiar with each other and their new surroundings.
"It's just a matter of understanding each other, of adapting to this league, this team and this system," Garcia said. "That's basically what is missing right now."
Luis Bueno is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.