CARSON, Calif. – Chivas USA did two things Sunday they seldom did in 2013: win, and continue fighting after giving up a lead.
Spirits were high in the locker room and in had coach Wilmer Cabrera's postmatch press conference following an opening-day 3-2 win by Chivas over the Chicago Fire at StubHub Center.
“It was good, it was a very good game. It was hot, it was intense,” Cabrera told reporters.
But rather than reflect on what’s happened in the past, the mantra throughout the locker room following the game focused on looking ahead.
A penalty from Erick Torres and a goal from rookie Thomas McNamara opened the scoring up for the Goats in the second half. But Chicago knotted the match with goals from second half substitutes Benji Joya and Quincy Amarikwa.
“We got comfortable, those ten minutes we have to fix,” Cabrera explained.
In recent seasons, the pattern indicated Chivas would have slumped and likely conceded a winner. In 2014, however, or at least the first match of the season, the team under the newly appointed Cabrera fought back until the end, and Bobby Burling headed home a corner from a Mauro Rosales corner kick in the 88th minute to give team a win.
When asked to compare the performance on the day to Chivas teams of the past, however, the players stressed the present and future direction of the club.
“I think the page is turned,” Burling told reporters. “We’re not talking about last year, we’re not talking about seven years ago, we’re talking about this year. It’s a new team, a lot of turnover, in the front office as well as the team itself. I’m happy to be a part of it as well, but we’re not talking about the past, we’re talking about this season.”
Burling’s central defensive partner Carlos Bocanegra reiterated that message, adding, “We’re trying to start from Day 1.
“We have 14 new guys … a new staff, league-owned," the captain told reporters, "and [we want to] make this just go now.”