Chivas USA not only suffered their second consecutive 1-0 loss Saturday night, but they also lost their composure against Real Salt Lake.
Head coach José Luis “El Chelís” Sánchez Solá reportedly got into a verbal spat with Real Salt Lake’s Javier Morales and coach Jason Kreis, as Morales walked off the field during a late-game substitution. Chelís, who before the match wrote on his Twitter account he’d send his grandchildren to Utah as punishment for misbehaving, left the bench immediately.
“He’s a coach that is really passionate about the game,” midfielder Eric Avila told MLSsoccer.com.
It wasn’t the only time the first-year coach has expressed his displeasure this season. On March 10, Chelís argued with LA Galaxy forward Robbie Keane during an injury delay. Chelís also left his bench in the April 13 loss to the Colorado Rapids, walking to the tunnel about a minute before the halftime whistle.
Shortly after Chelís entered the Rio Tinto Stadium tunnel on Saturday, usually mild-tempered midfielder Edgar Mejía earned a straight red card in the 94th minute for a forearm to Ned Grabavoy. Earlier in the match, Mejía had been denied in a first-half penalty shot that would have given Chivas USA the lead.
“Late in the game, it’s more emotional, for sure,” Avila said. “There’s going to be fouls at the end, so we have to keep our heads in it. We rushed the ball forward, but we didn’t manage to finish.”
It was only the second match away from the Home Depot Center for the Goats, who have surrendered nine goals in seven games this season, tied for most in the Western Conference. Chivas USA, who not long ago was the highest-scoring squad in the league, were also shutout for the second straight match.
“We had our opportunities, we just have to put the ball in,” Avila said. “We changed our mind set in the second half we were [finding] pressure a little bit more and it was that one mistake at midfield. Salt lake they put it away.
According to Avila, Chivas USA “panicked” and were unable to calm down. And it doesn’t get any easier for the Goats.
Bobby Burling will miss the next match after accumulating five yellow cards, while questions surround the availability of Juan Agudelo (hamstring), Miller Bolaños (quad), Oswaldo Minda (quad) and Wálter Vílchez (knee).
Lacking Agudelo up front, Chivas USA’s attack has fizzled.
“He’s a big guy for us, a big target,” Avila said. “He’s a guy that causes havoc. Other teams want to double him and it pulls people away. He’s a big distraction and always calm on the ball. We obviously miss him, but we have forwards that can do that same thing. It’s just about knocking it in.”