CARSON, Calif. – On so many levels, Chivas USA’s match against the LA Galaxy on Sunday was enormous.
And on so many levels, the manner in which los Rojiblancos lost the match was disheartening.
Chivas were torn apart by the Galaxy in the third and final regular-season SuperClasico, enduring a 4-0 loss and watching their in-stadium rivals claim the series triumph for the seventh time in eight years.
“That’s embarrassing,” Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser said. “For the magnitude of this game to have the result fall the way it did is certainly not good enough.”
Not only did the loss prevent Chivas from claiming the SuperClasico trophy, it widened the gap between the two teams in the race for a Western Conference playoff spot. What was a crack is now a chasm as the Galaxy lead by 10 points for the fifth and final playoff spot.
HIGHLIGHTS: CHV vs LA
“I’m at a bit of a loss for words,” Chivas ‘keeper Dan Kennedy said. “They just have a lot of class on their team and if you give them as many opportunities as we gave them tonight they’re going to score some goals. That’s kind of what happened.”
Added defender Ante Jazic: “I’m kind of speechless. We had a good week of training, the atmosphere was good and I thought we were going to come out and put in a good performance but besides Dan I don’t know anyone who performed well.”
Chivas went into the intermission down 1-0 but came out with some fire in the second half. Nick LaBrocca and Juan Agudelo had some opportunities to tie the match – each rifled a shot off a Galaxy defender within seconds of each other – but the Galaxy survived that scare no worse for the wear.
Chances like that cannot but squandered.
“If we want to stay in games like this we have to find a way to get on the end of those,” Kennedy said. “When you don’t get those you continue to open yourself up and make yourself vulnerable and push for a goal, and they got two and we made some changes and three and four came.”
Chivas were trying to shake off a 3-1 loss to the Galaxy in their most recent meeting, but last month’s nightmare continued on Sunday, as a cascade of bad midfield giveaways gifted the game to LA.
“It looked like essentially the same game. It looked like a track meet,” Chivas captain Danny Califf said. “We essentially made the same mistakes we did before and we were punished.”
Players tried to move on from that match and did so to an extent, beating Portland 1-0 a week after. However, those mistakes crept up once again on Sunday.
“Not different from last game against them,” Kennedy said. “That’s what bothers me the most – it doesn’t seem like we learned anything.”
Luis Bueno covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org