It was a night of firsts for last-place Chivas USA, but the end result was all too familiar.
New manager José Luis “Guero” Real’s MLS coaching debut Wednesday was a sour one, as the Goats lost 3-1 to the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place. Chivas USA scored first in the match -- the first time they had done that since March 30 against the same Vancouver side -- but defensive woes continued as the Whitecaps struck twice in first half stoppage time.
Afterward, Real told reporters he was not happy, attributing the defeat to “distractions and errors” that were avoidable.
“We were in good form, but we lost the game in the last five minutes of the first half,” the former Guadalajara coach said.
His debut looked promising early when forward Tristan Bowen broke a scoreless tie in the seventh minute with a right-footed strike from range. Suddenly, Chivas USA had something to smile about.
It was only the Goats’ second first-half goal of the season and their first goal in an MLS match in exactly a month. Bowen’s second goal of the year tied him with Juan Agudelo, who’s been with the New England Revolution since early May, for the team lead.
With Chivas USA chasing the equalizer in the second half, goalkeeper Dan Kennedy was left exposed and the Whitecaps capitalized again.
“As a goalkeeper, you’ve got to have the shortest memory on the field,” Kennedy said. “You just move on and know that every next play is critical. Really, once the goals happen I just let them go. I don’t think about them until the game is over.”
Even though it appears the change to the 4-3-3 formation did little for the Rojiblancos, Real remained optimistic about the progress he’s seen in the week he’s been coaching the squad. Chivas USA have still not won an MLS match since March 30.
“No one likes to lose -- it hurts,” Real told reporters. “But at the same time, we’re advancing in important areas. I can’t be exact about how close we are to becoming better until I coach four or five more matches. The only solution to this is hard work.”