Chivas USA may have come a long way from the early part of the season, but a 3-3 draw against the Columbus Crew on Saturday night was evidence that the Rojiblancos still have work to do to challenge the league’s elite.
The Rojiblancos took the lead three times, but each time were unable to hold the advantage, denying them a vital three points on the road.
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At the end of a month that saw the Goats stand toe to toe with several of the league’s finest sides, it was an unsatisfying performance.
“We’re very disappointed to give away two points tonight,” defender Ante Jazic told MLSsoccer.com. “Normally, we’d be happy with a point, but we conceded some cheap goals and gave away a chance to come back.”
For wide stretches throughout the match, the Rojiblancos were able to outwork the Crew in midfield with their high energy and high pressure play proving too much for Columbus.
But just as it seemed that Chivas were about to find their feet with the lead, mental miscues doomed them time and time again. Whether it was an errant pass by Simon Elliott that led to an Andres Mendoza’s goal just after halftime or a red card by Jorge Flores that forced Chivas USA to play the final 20 minutes down a man, the team struggled when they were supposed to have the upper hand.
“You can call it mental lapses or some of it growing pains. Some of the goals that we conceded tonight shouldn’t happen, and the other was just a mental mistake,” Jazic said. “Going forward, we need to eliminate them and we hope to because we work on them every week in training, but tonight too many of them happened in one game.”
In a match that saw the normally regimented and disciplined Rojiblancos make a number of miscues, it was Jazic, who was able to bail the Goats out not once, but twice.
Jazic was able to make a pair of crucial goal line clearances, the first coming in the 12th minute to clear a Tommy Heinemann shot that had beaten goalkeeper Dan Kennedy. The second prevented the Crew from taking full points as the Canadian defender cleared away a Jeff Cunningham shot that nearly gave Columbus the victory.
“I don’t even know what happened [on those], I was just following the plays,” Jazic quipped after the match. “They were two lucky plays, but I’m happy that I made them.”
Despite the uneven play against Columbus, Chivas USA were able to finish the month of May on a high note. The Rojiblancos closed the month of with a 1-2-2 record that saw them earn a critical four points after facing Real Salt Lake, New York, the LA Galaxy and Columbus.
“When everyone is playing well and we’re on the same page, we can play with anybody.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter: @adamserrano