Chivas USA were a game from making franchise history. But in the end, the same old mistakes cost them a shot at immortality on Wednesday night as they fell 4-1 to the Seattle Sounders at the Starfire Sports Complex in the semifinals of the US Open Cup.
As has been the case several times this season, a slow start and a defensive miscue proved decisive for the Rojiblancos, who conceded three goals in the second half to the three-time defending Open Cup champions. A Cesar Romero goal ultimately cut the Sounders' lead to one midway through the second half, but Chivas were ultimately unable to recover from the early deficit.
“The result is certainly disappointing for us,” head coach Robin Fraser told MLSsoccer.com by phone after the match. “The game was pretty much going as we expected until we gave up the goal, and then to make a mistake at the start of the second half and we’re really chasing the game. Once it got to that point, it was always a difficult proposition to chase.”
Seattle got on the board early, when a classy pass from Osvaldo Alonso sprung Eddie Johnson behind the Chivas defense, where the US International was able to slip a shot past Dan Kennedy. Down a goal, the Goats generated several scoring chances during a cagey first half, but they ended the half without a single shot on goal – their first didn't come until the 58th minute.
“I felt like we were very close to being dangerous on a number of chances,” said Fraser. “I felt like we were a final pass away, we were getting crosses, crossing situations, blocks out for corner kicks and we were definitely getting in behind them, and that’s the start to being dangerous. But the game was as we expected until we made the mistake [on the first goal].”
With a difficult end to an otherwise bright Open Cup campaign, Fraser admitted Wednesday's loss must be viewed as a learning experience for his young team.
“I think that you have to look at everything as a progression,” he said. “Certainly we were proud to get to the semifinals of the Open Cup and give ourselves a chance to win a championship, and certainly we looked forward to that opportunity. But in reality, it’s a bitter pill to swallow when you get to this point and don’t put [your] best foot forward.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.