A winless streak of five matches has left Chivas USA players hoping the dry spell is nothing more than a mere example of the ebb and flow of an MLS season.
The Goats’ latest setback came in a 3-0 loss Sunday against the Portland Timbers. After earning at least one point in four of ther first five matches this year, Chivas USA have been outscored 11-2 and dropped to the bottom of the Western Conference standings.
“It’s tough to go through, but we can either have our heads down or keep fighting,” defender Steve Purdy-Ramos told MLSsoccer.com. “Next week at home, we have to get a result. That’s the bottom line. These things happen in the league; you go through your ups and downs. We were up and now we’re struggling a little bit, but in sports there’s always an opportunity to react.”
If head coach José Luis “El Chelís” Sánchez Solá’s smothering scheme caught teams off guard to start the season, opponents have learned and made the proper adjustments. It seems like an eternity ago that the then-surprising Goats beat league-leading FC Dallas (24 points), 3-1, on Mar. 10. It’s been FC Dallas’ lone loss in 11 matches this year.
“The last two road games have been difficult,” said midfielder Josue Soto, referring to last week’s 4-0 thumping at the hands of Sporting Kansas City. “It’s not an excuse for why we’ve lost, but we’ve got to turn around and play well at home next week [vs. Real Salt Lake]. … We have confidence in this group and we want to make this better.”
While a Dan Kennedy-less defense faltered Sunday, the attack showed little spark without the suspended Carlos Álvarez. The dominant Timbers led in every category, including attempts on goal (19-8), shots on target (7-3), corner kicks (12-4) and possession percentage (59-41).
“You’re always going to point fingers,” said Purdy-Ramos, the former Timbers player. “But there’s a lot of things we can work on defensively and offensively. We have to work on possessing the ball. We haven’t played much defense in these games.
“It comes down to us committing ourselves personally and see what we can do at an individual level so the team will get better. We can possibly change something tactically, but it’s something we need to change within ourselves. This is soccer; you’re going to win some games and lose some games. You take the positives but also look at some things you need to work on.”