It was a story that was all too familiar for Chivas USA.
The Rojiblancos looked to have earned a deserved victory Saturday night at Kansas City, only to have it snatched away by the hands of fate, and the head of Omar Bravo. Chivas USA saw what was potentially a second straight victory go up in smoke when the Sporting forward scored in the 93rd minute of play to resign the Rojiblancos to a 1-1 draw.
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For Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser, it was a story that he’s gotten a little tired of telling throughout the season.
“It was a hard-fought game,” Fraser told reporters following the disappointing draw. “I thought that Kansas City gave us some problems in the first half, but we were able to adjust and create some chances. In the second half, I thought they came out with a lot of energy and really took it to us. I think it’s the first time all year we’ve had to change our formation because a team was giving us trouble, so hats off to them for playing so well.”
Chivas USA were able to take the lead on an impressive team passing sequence that started off with a pass by defender Heath Pearce and ended with midfielder Nick LaBrocca putting it into the back of the net in the 30th minute of play. It was LaBrocca’s sixth goal of the season.
Following LaBrocca’s goal, though, Chivas USA found themselves under a great deal of pressure as Sporting pushed for an equalizer.
With Sporting bearing down on them, Chivas USA had to switch out of their normal formation and made a pair of substitutions, taking out midfielders Simon Elliott and Blair Gavin for a pair of wingers in Jorge Flores and Francisco Mendoza. The move was designed to give Chivas USA more width to handle Sporting’s pressure, but Kansas City only moved closer to the goal.
Had it not been for a pair of saves by goalkeeper Dan Kennedy just minutes apart and only ten minutes from the end, Sporting may have equalized earlier, but the goal was coming. However, a poor clearance by Zarek Valentin in the 93rd minute set up Bravo’s dramatic header that stole two points from the Rojiblancos. After another miscue that led to points being lost, the Chivas USA locker room was understandably despondent.
“Obviously, it’s disappointing for us,” said forward Justin Braun. “Anytime you give up a goal in stoppage time, it’s definitely a letdown. We were expecting to get the three points. We were playing really well and unfortunately in the second half kind of got away from that and came under some pressure and then we broke.”
After another disappointing draw, Chivas USA will return home next week to take on the New York Red Bulls at the Home Depot Center. The draw will be another chance for Chivas USA to establish some momentum, but to do so they will need to put the pain of this result behind them.
“To be 60 seconds from getting out of here with three points, it’s extremely disappointing,” Fraser said.
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @adamserrano