Creating chances of late has surprisingly not been a problem for Chivas USA, but when lack of finishing came back to haunt the club once more on Sunday night, disaster struck.
And then things worsened considerably.
Chivas failed to put away several first-half opportunities and watched helplessly as San Jose piled up two goals on either side of halftime and fell by 4-0 at Buck Shaw Stadium on Sunday.
The match got out of hand, and it was the visitors who let it slip away.
“When you do some things well — we defended well as a group, we won balls where we wanted to, created opportunities — we have to reward ourselves,” Chivas coach Robin Fraser told MLSsoccer.com by phone. “If we don’t reward ourselves, there’s an empty feeling.”
The emptiness lingered through the night as a difficult reality set in. Chivas remained on 28 points, just two points out of last place, and shockingly have a minus-19 goal-differential. Sunday’s defeat was the second 4-0 loss the club has suffered through this month and capped off a week that saw Chivas allow 13 goals in three matches.
“The whole group is frustrated, incredibly frustrated,” Fraser said. “Most of the year we talked about not generating enough attack and then the last couple of games we generated quite a few chances and our defending, which has been pretty reliable all year, has been less reliable.”
Fraser stayed with the same back four that started in Wednesday’s 3-3 draw at New England, with Danny Califf and Rauwshan McKenzie in the middle. Also, Oswaldo Minda and Shalrie Joseph paired in the middle of the field for just the second time since Joseph arrived in early August.
None of it mattered, though. Chivas’ attack let the team down, and while their fight was present throughout the match, mistakes wound up sinking any hopes they had of coming back.
Ramiro Corrales scored two free-kick goals late in the second half to bury Chivas and added insult to injury. As the veteran’s shots hit the back of the net, Fraser said he felt “disbelief.”
“We need to go back and look at it and figure out what changes need to be made,” Fraser said. “As it is, having given up so many goals the last number of games, is not good enough. Absolutely not good enough.”
Chivas’ upcoming schedule is rather unkind. The club will visit Seattle on Saturday, the league’s lone match of the weekend. Then, San Jose visit for a rematch before a quick two-game road trip to Columbus and D.C. United.
Licking their wounds after a ghastly week, Fraser said the club must dig down deep and stay at it.
“I’ve been involved in this sport a long time, have been through good times and have been through bad times. The one thing that I’ve kind of always done is just keep fighting,” Fraser said. “At this point, it’s all we can do, just keep fighting, keep striving to get better.”
Luis Bueno covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.