CARSON, Calif – It was a tale of two halves on Saturday for Chivas USA.
The Rojiblancos struggled early dealing with the speed of the Chicago Fire attack and Ghanaian forward Dominic Oduro, but the second half was a different story. Inspired by the midfield sparkplug Nick LaBrocca, the Rojiblancos were able to earn the draw, controlling the game for wide stretches and were eventually unlucky not to get three points.
Here are three observations from the 1-1 draw on Saturday.
Fraser sticks with his style
During the lead up to their match against the Fire, Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser and the Rojiblancos tinkered with the club’s possession-oriented game. These changes were so secretive that Fraser even closed training twice last week as the Goats attempted to make changes.
At the end of the day, the Goats were in their standard midfield diamond, attempting to control the game with their possession-oriented style. Following the draw to the Fire, Fraser admitted that ultimately, there was no use to change their Goats style of play at this stage in the season.
“To be honest, a lot of what we experimented with we decided not to go with because I think the team is pretty comfortable in terms of how we play and what we do,” Fraser told reporters after the match. “Our decision ultimately was that we're comfortable doing what we do and we've been doing it for five months now. To go ahead and try to change it in a week probably isn't the wisest thing.”
Keeping frustrations in check
After an impassioned week in training, the Rojiblancos came out flat and found themselves down to the Fire after less than half an hour. In the second half, Chivas USA battled back for a point, but many Goats players were left feeling frustrated that the team once again failed to get a victory at home.
When asked what he’s doing to handle those frustrations in his locker room, Fraser admitted that he could to better keeping these worries in check.
“I don’t think I am, based on how we came out tonight, but I think we need to look at the good because if we only focus on what’s negative then guys get frustrated,” he said. “It’s about keeping a balanced message, where you have these things going well, but these things have to be improved so that the things we do well can be effective.”
The Goats will have the chance to deal with their frustrations on Wednesday against the San Jose Earthquakes.
Cué: No move for Red Bulls match
Chivas USA will take on the New York Red Bulls at the Home Depot Center on July 16 in a match that is sure to be one of the Goats biggest draw of the season.
There had been conversations about moving Chivas USA’s matchup against the Red Bulls, which falls on the same night as the LA Galaxy’s match against Spanish giant Real Madrid at the LA Coliseum. The event will surely force some fans from the Home Depot Center, but Chivas USA co-owner Antonio Cué was confident that the team could still perform well at the gate and on the field.
“Unfortunately, it came at the same time that day. [MLS] thought about moving it,” Cué said. “I said, 'If you want to move, you can move the other game.' Why would we move our game? Hopefully, we draw some people, and, more than that, hopefully, we'll get three points.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @adamserrano