Heartbreak won’t dissuade Chivas USA head coach Wilmer Cabrera from looking at the bigger picture.
The last-minute equalizer from Péguy Luyindula that helped the New York Red Bulls salvage a point on Sunday was painful, yes, but the Rojiblancos walked off Red Bull Arena with consolation.
“It obviously hurts,” Cabrera told reporters, “but if you said to me at the beginning of the game that we’d come to Red Bull Arena and play this way against this excellent team that last year was the Supporters’ Shield winner, I would say, ‘Yes, let’s do it.’ It is a good result overall. It hurts because we were ahead for 94 minutes, but the reality is, you have to play the whole game.”
Luyindula’s game-tying goal in the waning moments extended Chivas USA’s road winless streak to 17 league games and denied goalkeeper Dan Kennedy his first shutout of the year, but it failed to undo the improvement they showed from the poor showing in a 3-1 loss at FC Dallas a week prior.
“Of course we’re disappointed with giving up a goal in the last minute of the game, the dying seconds, really,” Kennedy told reporters. “Realistically, in the big picture and over the course of the season, compared to our performance last week, we took some really big steps forward. That’s what we need to keep in mind as we continue to build this team.”
After Thomas McNamara was brought down in the box as he skied for a Mauro Rosales centering pass, Erick “Cubo” Torres scored his team-leading fourth goal of the season on a penalty kick in the 25th minute, beating Luis Robles just as he did as a rookie last season.
Torres, who has scored in every game this season and tallied 11 in his time with the club, told reporters he studied Robles and knew exactly where he was going to place his shot.
The Goats, though, lacked the offensive firepower from that point on. They threatened some, but failed to sustain any sort of pressure.
“We put in a really strong effort,” Torres said. “For them to score in the 95th minute, obviously you leave frustrated, angry and upset.”
Chivas USA lost the possession percentage battle, 60-40, and were unable to withstand the late barrage. They had only one attempt on target all game.
“We have to improve our possession,” Cabrera said. “If we can improve on possession, we’ll make the opposition work. That’s going to help us. In the second half we struggled and that really affected us.
“We didn’t have the ball. When you don’t have the ball, you run and you defend.”