CARSON, Calif. – Chivas USA didn’t win Saturday night, but Wilmer Cabrera can’t be knocked for letting his team stand pat.
In the final game before the World Cup break, the first-year head coach got creative with his formation, moving around players in an effort to spark a stagnant attack that had lacked punch for the latter half of May. The changes resulted in a 1-1 draw against the LA Galaxy, giving the designated visiting side their first point in three weeks.
All of a sudden, Erick “Cubo” Torres wasn’t alone up top.
“We wanted to give Eric Avila a little bit more freedom to attack; he’s an attacking player more than a defender,” Cabrera told reporters. “He’s been doing an excellent job as a right back, but we’re sacrificing him more there than we’re taking advantage of his skills.”
That change subsequently put Leandro Barrera in more of an attacking role for the first time this season, grouping the Argentine with Torres and giving the Galaxy, playing without US national team member Omar Gonzalez, more to worry about.
“In the last couple games, we just had Cubo up there and we weren’t really helping him out as much as we would like to,” Avila told MLSsoccer.com. “We changed and took the tension away from Cubo and had some runs up top. We caught [the Galaxy] off guard going into the attack.”
The new look ignited Chivas USA, who were coming off back-to-back losses at home. Torres scored midway through the first half, snapping a 283-minute scoreless streak at StubHub Center, thanks to a feed from Martin Rivero. Though the lead was short lived, the Rojiblancos managed to bounce back from the 3-0 loss the last time the two sides met.
It wasn’t a victory – the Goats have only beaten their StubHub Center co-tenants once in 18 meetings since the start of the 2008 season – but the tie was something.
“It was a change that helped us tremendously at the start of the match,” Torres told MLSsoccer.com. “The team felt different. We had more guys up top and we responded well with Avila playing his natural position. We were able to get to loose balls and cause the opponent to worry more.”