CARSON, Calif. – When Chivas USA conceded a third goal Sunday in their stinging 3-0 loss to the LA Galaxy, head coach Wilmer Cabrera noticed what any coach would consider to be their worst nightmare.
“The team stopped fighting,” Cabrera told reporters in Spanish. “We have to talk about it because a team should never stop fighting.”
The fatal blow came in the 54th minute when Baggio Husidic capped the scoring with a well-placed drive from the top of the box. It deflated Chivas USA’s spirit and any hope the designated home side had of getting back into the game.
“Maybe the sharpness wasn’t there in possession,” goalkeeper Dan Kennedy told reporters. “I know for me, this rivalry means everything. I don’t want to lose a game, but particularly to [the Galaxy]. For the day, we weren’t good enough. The performance showed it in the end.”
Cabrera said he told his players at the break they needed a goal early in the second half to climb back from a 2-0 deficit. The game could have turned and the Rojiblancos might have grabbed some much-needed momentum, but instead, the Galaxy sealed it. The Goats didn’t have any answers, even with Cabrera making three substitutions in the second half.
“Our lines were too separated,” forward Erick “Cubo” Torres told reporters. “We came out with too much respect for what the Galaxy can do offensively. We can’t let that happen.”
If there was any consolation for Chivas USA, it arrived from Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena.
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“Like I told Wilmer after the game, I think he is doing a good job with the team,” Arena told reporters. “It’s a starting point. Defensively they had a plan; they’re hard to break down. … They’ve got good players and good things going and they [can] have a good year. I think for sure there are more signs of improvement for Chivas.”
The Goats, according to Cabrera, could use the crushing SuperClásico defeat as a learning lesson for the rest of the season.
“I believe in this team and I believe in these players,” Cabrera said. “But no doubt, in order for us to become a better team and more competitive in MLS, we have to be more consistent and have to take every game like it is a final.”