For the second time this season, Chivas USA literally tripped over their own feet in another blowout loss.
Without naming anyone specifically, head coach Wilmer Cabrera was critical of his players following a 3-0 loss to the Colorado Rapids last Friday, telling reporters at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park that bad cleat choices ultimately led to the Goats allowing two first-half goals.
“The first thing you do in these types of games is be well prepared with the right tools, and some players went on the field with cleats that aren’t good for this weather and these conditions,” Cabrera said. “They were slipping over there and it cost us.”
Inexperienced center backs Eriq Zavaleta and Andrew Jean-Baptiste – filling in for captain Carlos Bocanegra (concussion) and injured Bobby Burling (right medial menisectomy – were victimized early and Chivas USA never recovered.
It was the second shoe-related gaffe of the year for the Rojiblancos; Bocanegra left the pitch during a game in mid-April to change his cleats, and the Portland Timbers scored during the brief man advantage in what turned out to be a 1-1 draw at StubHub Center.
Cabrera said he was disappointed that he even had to ask players at halftime what shoes they had on their feet.
“That’s pretty sad, but that’s our reality,” Cabrera said. “That us at this professional level telling players to change their cleats; you’ve got to wear studs for this weather or you’re going to slip. They slipped like two or three times, and it caused problems in concentration. Then, at 2-0, the game is over.”
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After kicking off the second half of the season with a four-game winning streak, the Goats have dropped consecutive games and fallen back to eighth place in the Western Conference standings. They have an opportunity to make up some ground this weekend when they host fifth-place FC Dallas on Sunday night (10 pm ET, MLS LIVE).
Cabrera hopes the mental blunders are behind them.
“That’s something we have to address,” he said. “You expect that you don’t have to address that as a professional coach, but you have to do it as if they were kids.
“Hopefully they can use this lesson for the future and the rest of their professional careers.”