CARSON, Calif. – In a season filled with ugly showings, last-place Chivas USA might have saved their worst for just about last.
A plan to contain Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane crumbled quickly in a 5-0 loss to the LA Galaxy on Sunday afternoon, as did any hope of putting a dent into their cross-hall rival’s playoff hopes. The Rojiblancos wilted in the heat, struggling mightily in the third leg of the SuperClasico and leaving head coach José Luis “Guero” Real questioning his team’s effort for the first time.
“Without a doubt, this has not only been a bad performance, but we also lacked spirit,” Real told reporters. “That’s the part that leaves all of us – coaches and players alike – very discouraged. I can give you five excuses for what happened, but that’s worthless. The only thing that counts here is that we played very poorly.”
The Goats were thoroughly overwhelmed, surrendering three goals in a span of 20 minutes in the first half. Much of the damage was done on crosses, with Gyasi Zardes repeatedly victimizing Mario de Luna from the flank to assist on two goals and score one himself.
Not even the return of veteran Carlos Bocanegra (leg) to the lineup could help Chivas USA, as the Galaxy controlled possession and dissected a struggling backline that has allowed 10 goals over the last three matches.
“Everyone is pissed off,” Bocanegra told reporters. “To lose like we did is embarrassing. We have to look at ourselves and we all have to be held accountable for what happened. We have to be better. This was just unacceptable.”
Captain Dan Kennedy did not record any saves, while the Chivas USA attack recorded only one on-target shot, in the 82nd minute.
“They seemed to really get at us on the wings and get behind us on the outside,” Kennedy told reporters. “It created a lot of problems early and before we knew it, they had three goals to show for it. They were clinical.”
It was another afternoon of firsts for the youthful Goats, who had forward Matthew Fondy and defender Jaime Frias making their first career starts. Fondy and Frias, along with Bocanegra, Bryan de la Fuente and Erick “Cubo” Torres, also had their first taste of the SuperClasico, albeit a bitter one.
With the loss, Chivas USA failed yet again to earn a split in the season series. They managed a point against the Galaxy in March, but have not earned a split against them since 2007.
“We committed many mistakes and, unfortunately, we did so in a SuperClasico on an important stage,” Real said. “We don’t have any justification for what happened. We recognize we’ve turned in the worst game since I’ve been here.”