Once again Chivas USA found ways to put pressure on their rivals in a road match, and once again the club came away empty-handed.
Chivas squandered several opportunities in a 1-0 loss at D.C. United on Sunday to add to their now nine-game winless streak.
Sadly, it’s a tale that’s been told too often around the club — but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with losses.
“Guys are frustrated, in general, because they haven't been able to get that break, finish that play, put a full 90 minutes together,” Chivas assistant coach Greg Vanney told MLSsoccer.com by phone. “[...] We all play to win, we’re all here to win games, so of course it’s [frustrating].”
Vanney managed the squad for the second consecutive match as head coach Robin Fraser finished serving his suspension from his ejection on Sept. 15 against San Jose.
Full Highlights: DC 1, CHV 0
No matter who was on the sideline, though, Chivas once again followed the same script as before: play strong, make big plays defensively, attack, create problems for the opponent, fail to finish, and watch the opponent get a break and ultimately all three points. It’s something the players and coaching staff could likely predict will happen, and it came to fruition once more against D.C.
“The game is about making plays in the moment where you need to make plays,” Vanney said. “Unfortunately, we did what we’ve done too often: play a pretty solid game defensively and one little play where there’s a series of bad decisions and errors and what looks like nothing all of the sudden turns into something and then it’s in the back of our net.”
On the only goal of the game, defenders John Valencia and Jorge Villafana lost D.C.'s Lionard Pajoy, who shook himself free from the Chivas pair and sent a cross in front of goal that Branko Boskovic got his head on and knocked into the inside of the net.
“It’s a cross that should have never been a cross, it should have been stopped,” Vanney said. “The play should have been killed way before that. But then the cross should have never been a cross, it should have been blocked, it should have been kept out. Unfortunately, all of the sudden we find ourselves down one in a game where it was very even.”
Chivas tried to mount a comeback and pressured United’s goal throughout the latter part of the second half. Casey Townsend had a pair of chances and Miller Bolaños and Jorge Villafana also had their opportunities, but nothing came from them.
Ultimately, it all came down to Chivas' inability to test D.C. ‘keeper Bill Hamid and make the plays that count.
“[There were] several chances where we were just that one pass, that little bit of quality in that final pass, in that final shot, that final touch away,” Vanney said. “Games are won and lost by professionals making plays in moments where they need to make plays, taking a good first touch, getting a good shot on goal. Those are things why guys are professionals.”
While the match was not exactly similar to Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat at Columbus — Chivas had a strong performance in Ohio, particularly in the first half — the outcome was the same, and the team again felt they deserved a better fate than the one handed them.
“It’s rare on the road where you can really dictate a game, dominate a team in terms of chances,” Vanney said, “but I thought we were very much in a position to get something out of this game, ideally a win.”
Luis Bueno covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @RunnerLuis