CARSON, Calif. – Chivas USA head coach José Luis “Güero” Real usually takes questions in two languages during his postgame press conferences and often likes to humor reporters by answering some in English.
Sunday night’s gut-wrenching 1-0 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes, though, left him as solemn as he has ever been since arriving from Guadalajara. The Rojiblancos lost despite having a man advantage for the final 10 minutes, coughing up the go-ahead goal to Chris Wondolowski in the 87th minute. Afterward, it was all Spanish for the 61-year-old manager.
“We’re still assimilating this loss,” Real told reporters. “We played a match like we planned against a strong team. We were orderly and wanted to pick the right moments to counter attack. That was our game plan, but unfortunately at the end of the game we made mistakes.”
Goalkeeper Dan Kennedy made an initial save off a dipping shot from Alan Gordon but failed to secure the ball, and Wondolowski was there to score his fourth goal against Chivas USA this year. Given that the Rojiblancos had gone up a man in the 81st minute when Steven Lenhart received his second yellow card, the catastrophic rebound was yet another misfortune in a season filled with unlucky bounces.
“We are definitely better than our results,” Kennedy told MLSsoccer.com. “We’ve been on the short end of some things, but we’re fielding one of the youngest teams in the league. For me, with where we’re at and with what this team has been through, we’re still finding things to build on. I’m optimistic about everything.”
The Goats, who were without reliable veteran defender Carlos Bocanegra (left soleus strain), lost Steve Purdy late in the first half when Lenhart earned his first yellow for an elbow on the Salvadoran international. Purdy, who was filling in for Bocanegra, was taken to the hospital to get examined for possible facial fractures. The injury allowed defender Jaime Frias to become the 17th player to make his MLS debut for Chivas USA this season.
Youth has indeed been a common theme, but never an excuse.
“We’re sad and frustrated,” forward Erick Torres told reporters. “We were very good in the second half, but losses like this happen.”
Chivas USA (6-17-8), the only Western Conference team eliminated from playoff contention, have three regular season matches remaining -- all against teams currently in the top five of the postseason picture.
“It’s where we’re at; we’re trying to play the spoiler,” Kennedy said. “We knew this was a big game for [San Jose]. Unfortunately, I’m still trying to figure out how we let it get away from us.”