Chivas USA recently earned a victory despite playing down a man for a majority of the match, so there wasn't much panic when they once again went down to 10 - this time with a mere 30 minutes remaining - against the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night.
Defender Carlos Bocanegra, in his third game since joining the team, was shown a red card for a rough tackle on Shea Salinas, but this time, the Goats couldn’t pull off the heroics in a 2-0 loss at Buck Shaw Stadium.
Goalkeeper Dan Kennedy did all he could to keep the Rojiblancos within striking distance, adding to his season-long highlight reel with impressive saves, but it wasn’t enough against the team ahead of them in the Western Conference standings. And as he has throughout the year, the captain remained positive in his postgame remarks.
“Big picture, you have to realize this group has made some significant strides forward with this new coach,” Kennedy told reporters. “We’ve gotten some good results and been on the shorthand of some results, but we’re improving. It’s important that we don’t let a result that goes against us weigh us down. We have to learn from it and move on.”
Though four Chivas USA players were booked Saturday, including Bocanegra in the 62nd minute and Kennedy in the 63rd, head coach José Luis “El Guero” Real gave the referees a good grade. No, the bigger issue for the Goats was the inexperience.
Real sounded happy with his side’s performance, citing the team’s youth as a reason to be excited. Julio Morales, 19, and Erick “El Cubo” Torres, 20, started up front, while Marco Delgado, 18, was slotted at right back.
“My job in Guadalajara was to install young players of quality and that’s no exception here,” Real told reporters. “We have experienced players here with a lot of quality and we need them, but if you compare our team with others in the league, you see a lack of experience. The only way to get experience is to play in these types of games.”
Chivas USA were credited with only four attempts on goal to San Jose’s 12 and lost the possession battle 58 to 42 percent. They were shut out for the 10th time this season.
“It was a bit scrappy, but that’s how it always is [at Buck Shaw Stadium],” midfielder Tristan Bowen told reporters. “It’s a combination of how San Jose plays and the small field. We never really got going. We had a couple clear opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on.”