CARSON, Calif. – Chivas USA have not won a league match for nearly three months, but they recorded a moral victory of sorts Sunday in their 1-0 loss to the cross-hall rival LA Galaxy.
The Goats have yet to keep a clean sheet in any game this season, but they snapped a streak of seven consecutive league matches in which they had surrendered multiple goals. It might not seem like much of an achievement for a group that has now tied the club record for consecutive losses with seven, but Chivas USA players need whatever glimmer of hope they can hang onto during this difficult stretch.
“Yeah, there’s a lot of crap that’s going on with the club right now, but the game never changes,” midfielder Tristan Bowen told MLSsoccer.com. “We as players just need to step up.
“Of course there’s always room for [moral victories], but continuing to lose, we’re not accepting it and it can’t become a habit. We’ve just got to keep grinding. The guys are full of fight and we’re not giving up. It’s just not there right now.”
The roster shakeup over the last three months has created fluidity, as evidenced by Sunday’s starting lineup, which included only four players whom also started March 17 in the previous match against the Galaxy: goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, defender Mario de Luna, midfielder Oswaldo Minda and forward José Correa.
Head coach José Luis “Güero” Real’s arrival brought tactical changes and another adjustment period. Taking all the underlying factors into account, the Goats were somewhat surprising.
“Pretty typical of these games,” Galaxy manager Bruce Arena told reporters. “Their new coach has done a good job with them in a short period of time.”
Chivas USA (3-10-2) were doomed by another defensive lapse, though, as Landon Donovan and Gyasi Zardes teamed up for a well-orchestrated goal on a free kick in the 44th minute. It was the 30th goal allowed by the Goats this season in 15 games – the most in MLS.
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“Disappointed with the result – we played well enough to maybe sneak a result out of that game,” Kennedy told reporters. “Optimistically, I’m happy with the way we played. We can’t give up goals in set pieces – that’s rule No. 1. But, other than that, it was very good. We created some chances and did a good job of limiting their chances. The game was there to go either way.”
It might not get any easier for the Rojiblancos, either. They host the New England Revolution next weekend before leaving town for a three-game road swing against FC Dallas, Montreal and Philadelphia – three of the top teams in the league.
“There’s a clearer idea now and we’ve been working a lot on defense in training,” midfielder Josue Soto told reporters. “This wasn't a result we wanted, but we’re getting better.”