CARSON, Calif. – While new Chivas USA coach José Luis Sánchez Solá took responsibility for last Saturday’s season-opening loss, saying he failed to “provide the tools” necessary for a victory, his players in turn placed the blame on themselves following Tuesday morning’s training session at the Home Depot Center.
Julio Morales, the 20-year-old forward who made his MLS debut in the 3-0 loss to the Columbus Crew, said a lapse in focus caused him to misfire on two point-blank opportunities that would have given Chivas USA the lead in the first half.
“We were nervous,” Morales told MLSsoccer.com. “The whole team was nervous. We couldn’t make little passes. The two clear chances I had, I decided wrong. I didn’t concentrate enough.”
Columbus was credited with six shots on goal while the Rojiblancos had only two. Morales fired a right-footed shot on a breakaway chance for his team’s only attempt on goal of the first half, but it was saved by goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum. That, as it turns out, was the best chance of the night.
Sánchez Solá pointed the finger himself after the disappointing opening match, telling reporters, “I have to be better because I have 27 players that are waiting for me.”
But forward Tristan Bowen didn’t agree with that remark Tuesday.
“He was trying to take the blame off the players, but we’re all professionals and we all know how to play,” the Los Angeles native told MLSsoccer.com. “We got a little rattled. Everything we practiced in preseason didn’t translate into the first game.
“That’s a good coach being a good coach, but at the end of the day, it’s the players that need to do their jobs.”
Juan Agudelo and Miller Bolaños were halftime substitutes for Morales and 19-year-old debutante Giovani Casillas, but the new-look attack ultimately failed to capitalize on its opportunities.
The Crew scored twice in the final six minutes to end any threat of a comeback.
“The coach is trying to ease the pressure off of us but at the end of the day we didn’t perform,” Bowen said. “He’s not on the field so we as players need to look at ourselves and figure out what we need to improve on. Every last one of us that played has something that they need to improve on.”