Head coach José Luis “Guero” Real believes Chivas USA have undoubtedly improved their play in July, but they closed out the month with a sampling of their old antics on Sunday night in a 2-1 loss to the Seattle Sounders.
The Goats spoiled a one-goal lead in the first half and failed to generate an attack in the second, extending their winless streak on the road to nine games. Seattle gained momentum in the 23rd minute when Brad Evans countered an earlier goal from Erick “El Cubo” Torres and Chivas were unable to bounce back.
“Our endurance was a lot different, and that was the primary reason why we didn’t get better,” Real told reporters.
There were defensive lapses — a common occurrence during the Goats’ grueling three-month stretch before earning two draws and a victory in July. Defender Mario de Luna was slow to stop a breakout run by Obafemi Martins, allowing a centering pass that Mauro Rosales redirected to Lamar Neagle for the go-ahead score 12 minutes into the second half.
Martins also assisted on Evans’ goal, proving to be a handful for the Chivas USA backline that had a bit of a makeover during the week after the departure of Wálter Vílchez.
“We could have dealt better with both [goals],” goalkeeper Dan Kennedy told reporters. “You always look at the goals. It’s an important part of the game. To have a guy run out of midfield to score a goal is never a good thing and, on the second goal, we had a chance to make a play before the ball got crossed and we were too patient on it.
“Still, we’re moving in the right direction. These games always come down to one or two plays and we were on the short end of that.”
There were tired legs, as well. Real made three substitutions in the second half in attempt provide a spark offensively.
“The changes were all for players up front,” Real said, referring to Julio Morales, Josue Soto and José Manuel Rivera. “They weren’t midfielders or defenders. When we went down and weren’t playing very well in the second half, my intention was to tie. Getting a draw as a visitor would have been good for us.”
As has been the case far too often this year for the Western Conference’s last-place team, the lack of quality was apparent.
“Our players lost a lot of balls and bad passes turned into dangerous opportunities for Seattle,” Real said. “We just couldn’t pass the ball well.”