CARSON, Calif. -- Quickly yet unsurprisingly, it went from bad to worse for Chivas USA on Saturday night in a woeful 4-1 home loss to the Houston Dynamo.
The interconference matchup was always going to be a challenge and, perhaps an uphill climb for the struggling Rojiblancos, who have not won a game since their season opener. They took the pitch at StubHub Center without their starting goalkeeper, Dan Kennedy (red card suspension), and most creative midfielder, Mauro Rosales (right adductor strain), and their absences were magnified when the ball started rolling.
The only offense Chivas USA mustered came in the seventh minute on a penalty kick from Erick “Cubo” Torres, who has been a one-man show by scoring seven of the team’s nine goals this year, including the last six.
That early goal, though, might have been the turning point. The Dynamo answered with a flurry, breaking out of their five-game slump by scoring three times before halftime.
Chivas USA failed to respond, dropping their third game in a row and leaving head coach Wilmer Cabrera with even more to mull over.
“Scoring a goal so early, we started to just walk," Cabrera told reporters in his postgame press conference. “We didn’t even put pressure on [Houston] and didn’t figure it out. [Our goal] was a wake-up for Houston and they reacted very well. Then, they showed character and personality, and we didn’t.”
The Rojiblancos were down a man for the second consecutive week and fourth time this year, but had lost the game long before that.
“Getting the goal early was about the only thing that went right for us, to be fair,” defender Bobby Burling told MLSsoccer.com. “Every facet of the first half wasn’t good enough. As the score line showed, it’s not acceptable at home. It’s not acceptable on the road. It’s not acceptable anywhere.”
Chivas USA (1-5-3) have scored first in five of their nine matches, yet have only one win to show for it.
“We came out in the second half and had new energy,” Burling said. “We had to play with that urgency, but it was just a terrible mistake by me to really let the game slip away at that point. We were pushing for a goal and it was just a mental lapse. I feel terrible for Tim; another red card for our goalkeeper. That was on me and it’s disheartening to see a goal like that but, at the same time, we weren’t good enough in the first half.”