Once again, a young Chivas USA squad still in development showed just how far they will need to go to become a legitimate playoff contender after letting points slip from their grasp for yet another weekend.
The Rojiblancos fell on the road, 3-2, on Saturday to the Philadelphia Union, conceding untimely goals that were the difference between earning points and falling deeper down in the table.
Here are the three things learned from Chivas USA’s loss to the Union:
CHIVAS USA KEEP SHOOTING THEMSELVES IN THE FOOT
The Rojiblancos took an early lead, earned off a Michael Umaña goal midway through the first half, and presently coughed it up. Then, less than 10 minutes away from full time, Chivas USA conceded the game-winning goal to stumble to their third consecutive defeat.
Following a match that he believed his men could have pulled a result out of, head coach Robin Fraser was blunt in assessing his club after yet another disappointing game.
“Its concentration,” Fraser told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday. “Players need to concentrate for 90 minutes and then collectively, we have to do that as well. But it starts with individually. We have to be able to concentrate.”
MIDFIELD STRUGGLES CAUSE OF DEFEAT
The big issue for Chivas USA on Saturday was their lack of midfield presence. The Union’s midfield controlled large stages of the match and forced the Rojiblancos into an open and fast-paced game. Normally a team that focuses on earning possession to slow the game down, Fraser’s men were unable to play their game against the Union and too often struggled to hold possession and generate chances.
Despite the struggles in the midfield, the Rojiblancos showed flashes of inspiration in the center of the park. The best example was Justin Braun’s goal, when the forward was able to outwork the Philadelphia defense after receiving a quality ball from Jorge Flores. However, it was a night when the Rojiblancos were left to dwell more on the opportunities lost than those converted.
“That’s not the way that we want to play,” Braun told reporters after the defeat. “We want to possess the ball and limit their chances. I think we got away from that and that’s why the game opened up.”
The Rojiblancos were forced to make a key change at halftime when Umaña came out with an injury. The defender scored Chivas USA’s first goal of the game and had performed well, neutralizing Carlos Ruiz and the rest of the Union’s attack. However, when Umaña came out, the Goats were forced to rely on Andrew Boyens, who had not seen action since playing in international friendlies for New Zealand at the beginning of the month.
On Tuesday, Umaña’s was diagnosed with a hamstring strain. Still, the Costa Rican defender was back training with the club and Fraser stated he subbed out the defender purely for precautionary reasons.
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @adamserrano