CARSON, Calif. – Feeling comfortable against a team they had already seen twice this year, Chivas USA really went for it.
With the Vancouver Whitecaps in town, the Rojiblancos seemed rather relaxed for a team that had dropped four consecutive games. They were confident, and, given that they had grabbed four points from two previous matchups against the visitors, head coach Wilmer Cabrera showed no fear in deploying a more aggressive attack Saturday night at StubHub Center.
Yet, it was much of the same for the last-place Goats, who walked away with a mere point following a scoreless draw.
“Our mentality was to win the game,” Cabrera told reporters in his postgame press conference. “The only thing we needed to be sure about was to keep the clean sheet. In the second half, at home, you need to take the risk and send the players that are more offensive minded.”
The Goats failed to score for the fourth straight week, extending their drought to 366 minutes – the second worst in MLS this year. But they created options and pushed forward, especially in the second half after Cabrera inserted Mauro Rosales, Leandro Barrera and Ryan Finley into the lineup.
Even though both teams failed to find the net, Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson told reporters he saw a noticeable difference in this Chivas USA squad.
“I know (Cabrera) made a few changes, as I did, to get some freshness and get a reaction out of his team,” Robinson said. “He certainly got a reaction out of his team. He’s a good coach, Wilmer, he really is. He got the best out of his players.”
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Chivas USA (6-11-6) didn’t stand pat, knowing they must make a move in the standings soon if they want to get back into the playoff picture. On dead-ball opportunities, for instance, the Goats pushed all but one of their players – defender Akira Kaji – into the box. That aggressiveness made them a bit susceptible to the counter attack, but Dan Kennedy still managed his fourth shutout of the year.
Rosales, who is among the league leaders in assists with eight, was the predictable catalyst after coming on for Marco Delgado to start the second half, but the Goats were unable to cash in.
“If we would have put a little bit more energy and a little bit more desire, we could have gotten the three points,” Rosales told reporters. “We got one [point], but obviously every time we step on the field we want the three points. We want to play better and learn from every game.”