Chivas USA might be aiming to forget about the past with a new head coach and bevy of new contributors in this transitional year, but some old, haunting issues resurfaced Saturday night in a 3-1 defeat against FC Dallas.
Much like in the tumultuous 2013 campaign, defensive lapses plagued the Rojiblancos in their first road match of the season. FC Dallas revved up Toyota Stadium by scoring three second-half goals to send the Goats back home with a few things to work on. Breakdowns on set pieces were the biggest problem, which left manager Wilmer Cabrera uneasy.
"When you make those mistakes on set pieces and in concentration, you don't deserve [points]," Cabrera told reporters. "You have to get punished in order for us to improve. We've been working on set pieces, but [Saturday] we lost concentration and we got punished."
Spirits were high heading into the matchup, and for good reason -- the Rojiblancos had kicked off their new season on a promising note by grabbing four points from the first two games at StubHub Center.
Cabrera and his staff were delighted with the club's fight the first two weeks, and they showed some more of that fire battling FC Dallas to a draw at halftime despite the absense of central midfielder Agustín Pelletieri (red card suspension) and holding midfielder Oswaldo Minda, who exited on the stroke of halftime with an apparent left hamstring injury.
But in a disheartening 15-minute sequence some 25 minutes into the second half, the Goats conceded three times. They weren't necessarily blitzed, either, which was most disconcerting.
"Two set piece goals and one more where we passed the ball to the opponent," Cabrera said.
The fight, perhaps something Chivas USA didn't show much of last season on their way to a Western conference-worst record, was prevalent even after falling behind by two.
Erick "Cubo" Torres found the back of he next in the 81st minute for his team-leading third goal. The comeback was on, but for only a few minutes.
The Rojiblancos were missing a piece of their backline in center back Bobby Burling (shoulder), but Cabrera believed they should have been better even without some of their usually starters.
"We have to continue working," the coach said. "It's not like we are too far; we still need to improve in these aspects if we want to continue moving forward and be more competitive, especially away."