All Chivas USA needed was a small break on Wednesday night, just as seemingly every opponent has gotten against them this year.
They appeared to get one in the waning moments when Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Michael Gspurning fumbled away the ball inside the box with Erick “Cubo” Torres on the prowl, but referee Mark Geiger blew the whistle and the home squad escaped with a 1-0 victory.
The controversial sequence just about summed up the 2013 season for the Rojiblancos.
“When teams are fighting like we’re fighting, the calls that go against us maybe have a little bit more impact,” captain Dan Kennedy told reporters. “Sometimes for us, our games come down to one or two plays. If we miss out on something or something goes against us, it can really affect the outcome of the game.”
Chivas USA was coming off a disheartening draw in Vancouver where they coughed up a two-goal lead. They struggled to generate any offensive threat until the second half. The push, though, arrived too late.
Gspurning nearly undid all of Seattle’s work by losing possession of the ball due to indecision, but the Goats had yet another gut-wrenching call go against them as Torres raised his arms in protest.
“Unfortunately, the referee finished the game,” head coach José Luis Real said. “I’m happy with the development of Chivas USA, especially in the second half.”
Real said he believed the Rojiblancos should have been awarded an indirect kick with an opportunity to eek out a point as time expired.
“It’s kind of a testament of the season we’ve had,” defender Bobby Burling said. “There have been a lot of ups and downs. Nothing has come easy for us. We came out a little flat in the first half, maybe with tired legs from the previous game.”
Though Seattle was missing some key players away on international duty, Chivas USA hung tough in a difficult environment. The streaking Sounders notched their third straight shutout, yet the game’s lone scorer was impressed with the last-place Rojiblancos.
“We knew it was going to be physical from the start,” Lamar Neagle said in a postgame television interview. “They’ve been doing well recently and tried to get us back from the last time we played. We knew they were going to fight.”
With the loss, Chivas USA dropped all three matches against Seattle this season.
“I wish we had one more game against them so we could get a result,” Kennedy said.