CARSON, Calif. – When attacking midfielder Mauro Rosales sat out Saturday night’s loss due to a right adductor strain, Chivas USA missed more than just his playmaking ability and experience.
The Houston Dynamo found their rhythm, scoring three times in a span of 35 minutes en route to grabbing a 4-1 road victory, and the Rojiblancos might have been too vulnerable without Rosales, their leading assist man.
“We missed his character and personality,” head coach Wilmer Cabrera told reporters. “It’s contagious and we couldn’t figure it out. It was too casual, but that’s my responsibility. If they didn’t play well in the first half, I’ll take full responsibility because it’s on me.”
Notable offseason acquisition Adolfo “Bofo” Bautista made his MLS first start in place of Rosales, slotting in as a central midfielder behind lone forward Erick “Cubo” Torres. Second-year midfielder Carlos Alvarez occupied Rosales’ usual spot on the right wing and earned a penalty kick in the seventh minute that Torres converted for the early 1-0 advantage.
Yet, from then on, the Rojiblancos had no answers.
“He’s the type of player that helps the team a lot and balances things out,” Torres said of the veteran Rosales. “At certain times, his experience comes into play. We missed him.”
Defender Bobby Burling added: “Mauro is a playmaker, very good on set pieces and very good to the run of play. This was our first game without him but, at the same time, we have to be prepared to have guys plug in. They’re not going to do the same things as Mauro, but we have to eliminate the mistakes and have cohesiveness as guys come in and out of the lineup.”
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Bautista, who had contributed an assist in six appearances (103 minutes) heading into the night, played the first half before giving way to fellow newcomer Luke Moore at the break.
“We need to help Bofo; it’s our responsibility,” Cabrera said. “We have to pass the ball to his feet. We can’t make him run, slide tackle and make him mark; that’s not Bofo’s strength. His strength is when we get the ball to his feet and let him play. We didn’t do it in the first half, so we didn’t want to sacrifice him for the second half and make him run and run and run.”
Chivas USA, who allowed a season-high four goals and lost the possession percentage battle 56-44, could have Rosales back this Sunday against the Colorado Rapids.
“Hopefully for the next game, he is going to be available,” Cabrera said. “We have to rebound, talk and learn those lessons. We have to prepare for the games with a better mentality.”