CARSON, Calif. — Chivas USA have hit a tailspin, with a six-game winless streak and 11 goals conceded in their their last three games — all of them blowout losses — and even head coach José Luis “Chelís” Sánchez Solá isn't sure when, or if, his team can climb out of it.
The Goats were overpowered Sunday night by Real Salt Lake, who took charge with goals at the start of each half and added two late finishes for a 4-1 triumph at the Home Depot Center, and Chelís afterward acknowledged there was only so much he can do to fix things.
“This is what we have,” he said during his postgame news conference. “We don't have anything else. I'm very proud of everything that my players do every day. This is just our level.”
It's not a particularly desirable standard. Chivas (3-6-2) sit last in the Western Conference and have been outscored 15-3 since they last won at the end of March. Injuries to pivotal players and continual suspensions — the Goats were without two banned players Sunday — have taken a toll, and club owner Jorge Vergara, who was expected to be in attendance at the match but never arrived, has made it clear, Chelís said, that reinforcements are not coming.
Defender Bobby Burling believes the Goats have enough to win in MLS, and they would have been even with a better finish by José Erick Correa two minutes after Jorge Villafaña's header halved the deficit 10 minutes into the second half.
“I don't think that's the case [that we can't compete],” Burling said. “At one point in the game, it could have been 2-2. Guys are fighting. It's not for lack of effort, that's for sure. Maybe a play goes this way or that way early in the match, and the game's 2-2. But that's the game sometimes, and the bounces are definitely not going our way right now. ... We're capable players, and we just need to figure it out sooner rather than later.”
Chelís says he's very happy with the efforts his players give, in training and in games, and he was pleased to see his team creating scoring chances after rustling up no more than a half-dozen in the last two weeks.
“Today,” he said, “we played better, but it's not enough in this league.”
At least not in the Western Conference.
“We're in this conference, and, obviously, we don't have enough points,” Chelís said. “Perhaps if we were in the Eastern Conference, we would be in a better place. We have more points than [three] teams in the Eastern Conference, like D.C. United, but we are here.
“We need to concentrate. This is what we have. We don't have enough to compete right now. We have to keep working hard.”