CARSON, Calif. – For Chivas USA, their 3-0 home loss to Real Salt Lake was just of those games where absolutely nothing went their way.
The Rojiblancos stood toe to toe with Real Salt Lake at the outset as they controlled possession, but one mistake proved to be the team's undoing.
A defensive miscue between Dan Kennedy and Ante Jazic resulted in a turnover that led to Fabian Espindola’s opening goal, placing Chivas in a hole from which they weren't able to extract themselves.
“It started as a pretty even affair; there was a lot of work in the midfield by both teams, but in the end as the game wore on, it became a bit of a game of mistakes and we paid the price for our mistakes for sure,” head coach Robin Fraser told reporters after the loss. “At times it was very good, but it’s a 90-minute game and that’s not good enough for it to be just good at times. At the end, we just became the victim of our own mistakes.”
HIGHLIGHTS: CHV 0, RSL 3
Although the club started the game on the front foot with dangerous possession in the RSL final third, the Goats had nothing to show for it as they were unable to legitimately test Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
But the defining moment came in the 41st minute, when a routine throw from Kennedy to Jazic was intercepted by RSL midfielder Jonny Steele. After his interception, Steele played the ball over to Kyle Beckerman, who launched a 35 yard pass to Espindola for the opening goal.
“It was a poor pass out by me. The ball just kind of floated up to Ante, and that was the turnover,” admitted Kennedy after the match. “It was actually good service in [from Beckerman]. That’s what happens on a good service in; you get stuck in between where you want to go and where you should be.”
After the initial mistake, RSL was quick to add to their lead. At the outset of the second half, they struck again on Espindola’s second of the night in the 54th minute and then added a third on Will Johnson’s stoppage-time strike.
It all added up to a loss that was tough for Chivas to stomach.
“That’s what we said…it didn’t feel like a 3-0 [loss], and I said, you know, to be honest with you, they never do. They never do,” said Kennedy of a post-game conversation with midfielder Ben Zemanski. “You always have a couple of opportunities. It seems like it just goes that way where they get buried and you walk away with nothing. Empty hands.”
Despite the difficult scoreline, the Rojiblancos must dust themselves off and prepare for Wednesday when they face a resurgent Montreal Impact side that is flying high after an emotional 4-1 victory to open the renovated Stade Saputo. For Chivas, the quick turnaround may be just the tonic for returning to winning ways.
“I think we have something to prove to ourselves,” said Fraser. “We had a decent run and at times tonight it was good. But the execution wasn’t good enough and certainly that is a thing that we as a group have to get back to sooner rather than later.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.