It took some last-minute heroics from goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, but Chivas USA were able to hold on to a 3-2 victory against a revitalized New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium on Saturday.
The victory was the first for Chivas in their epic five-game road trip that continues next week against the Seattle Sounders. However, the Goats nearly allowed the three points to slip away as several clutch saves by Kennedy were needed to keep teen phenom Diego Fagundez and the Revolution at bay.
The Rojiblancos will make their third stop on their road trip next week in Seattle, and will also look for their first winning streak of the season in the process.
Here are three thoughts from the Rojiblancos’ victory over New England:
1. Confident Moreno feels "dangerous."
Making his first start since returning from helping Venezuela to the semifinals of the Copa América, Alejandro Moreno tallied two goals and was instrumental in a number of different ways against the Revs. Whether it was aiding in the build-up of attack by holding up possession or sending in crisp finishes, Moreno (above, left) was instrumental almost every time his side threatened.
As Chivas USA have been unable to add a forward in the transfer market, Moreno’s run of form is a positive for a team that still harbors playoff aspirations.
“Coming off of my trip to Copa América, I felt pretty strong and confident of what I’ve been doing on the field,” Moreno said. “I felt good during the match, I felt dangerous so I was moving fairly well, then I was able to take advantage of two great balls by Ante [Jazic] and by Nick [LaBrocca] and was able to finish.”
2. Elliott provides the calming force for maturing Rojiblancos.
Simon Elliott may have started the year without a club, but he has been integral in helping a developing midfield. Against the Revolution, Chivas USA occasionally struggled under pressure, but Elliott helped serve as a conduit for the counter attack.
The veteran New Zealand international was also vital in the creation of the first goal against New England, sending a looping ball into LaBrocca who then crossed for Moreno. Following the match, head coach Robin Fraser lauded his veteran for his ability to help his young team.
“I think he’s added a measure of calm and composure in otherwise hectic situations and I think he’s been able to help kind of set the tone for our team sometimes,” Fraser told reporters after the win. “We’re a young team that certainly has our ups and downs, and I think that he has been able to provide us some stability at times.”
3. Courtois impresses in debut, but still work to do
Chivas USA’s latest signing, French midfielder Laurent Courtois (pictured at top, right), made his debut and did so in style. His most significant impact was in the attack, with his crisp passes helping to set up several opportunities at net.
The Frenchman’s finest moment came in the 80th minute when he began the build up that led to Moreno’s game-winning-goal. On the defensive front Courtois’ performance was a bit uneven, as while he did show a willingness to play physically with the Revolution midfield, he nonetheless seemed out of sync at times.
“His first touch was excellent and with some of his passing ideas going forward he was extremely composed,” said Fraser. “I thought he made good decisions on the ball. I think that it’ll take a little bit more time of him playing with us to understand and reintegrate himself defensively into what we’re doing. So it’ll be a matter of time before he gets more comfortable with what is being asked of him defensively.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @adamserrano