CARSON, Calif. — When the dust settled after Chivas USA’s latest loss, the club’s view was about as low as it gets.
Following the weekend’s results, Chivas and Portland sit even in last place in the Western Conference, a stunning and maddening change of fortune for a club that, just two months ago, was within striking distance of the playoffs.
“I’ve been here a long time,” Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy said. “I’ve been through some hard times with this club, with this team. I’ve been through some good times. This is obviously one of the lower lows.”
After Chivas beat Portland on July 28, the club sat on 26 points with a respectable 7-8-5 mark, but since then they have scraped up just a pair of points. The Rojiblancos have scored the fewest goals in MLS (21), have allowed more than twice as many (43) and have the worst goal differential (minus-22).
In less than two months, everything has seemingly fallen apart.
“I don’t think that I’ve ever experienced such frustration in all the years I’ve played this game,” defender Danny Califf said. “It seems like we can’t really put a foot right and we can’t get things to go our way and we can’t get the breaks.”
Where does the blame lay?
“The last place thing is obviously difficult to swallow for any of us,” Chivas USA assistant coach Greg Vanney said. “I still think that we’re doing a lot of this with our decisions on the field and guys making decisions and not executing in moments on the attacking side.”
Perhaps scoring early goals more often would help. Often times, the Goats have had strong stretches in games early on but with nothing to show for it, the frustration only increases. A moment of brilliance, or really any moment worth mentioning, would have helped keep them out of this situation.
“We’re looking for that positive moment,” Vanney said. “We seem to keep skirting it, whether it’s missing opportunities or whether it’s defensive mistakes or bad decisions. We need something to build on and we haven’t been able to find it.”
Last place in mid-September is not what the club had in mind at the start of the year, but last place at the end of October would really be disastrous.
“It’s never fun being in the cellar,” Califf said. “I don’t anticipate us finishing there but if we can’t turn this ship around in a hurry it’s going to spell bad news for everybody.”
Luis Bueno covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.