CARSON, Calif. – Better was just not good enough for Chivas USA.
After stumbling at the end of July in back-to-back road losses, the Rojiblancos showed vast improvement Sunday night, outshooting, outpossessing and basically outplaying FC Dallas, but their progress went unrewarded as they dropped a 1-0 result at StubHub Center.
According to head coach Wilmer Cabrera, the scoreboard didn’t reflect his side’s overall showing.
“This was the best game we have played at home in terms of possession, moving the ball, being organized and putting pressure,” Cabrera told reporters in his postgame press conference. “But, in the end, it’s not how you play, it’s if you put the ball in the net. [Dallas] only had two chances, and they put one in.”
They planned to inch closer to playoff contention against the very team that occupied the fifth and final spot, and the Goats mostly showed all the signs of a bounce-back performance. Yet they were left pressing in the second half following a tie-breaking goal from Tesho Akindele in the 49th minute and ultimately handed their third consecutive defeat.
“We had a good mentality and hard work from the whole team,” said midfielder Mauro Rosales, who returned to action after missing the previous game with a strained hamstring. “We feel we deserved something more from this game at home in front of our fans. The mentality was there, and the hard work was there.”
The opportunity to equalize was there, too.
The usually automatic Erick “Cubo” Torres, the MLS All-Star selection who has scored 14 of the club’s 21 goals this season, misfired on a header in the 78th minute. He went up unmarked inside the penalty area, but came down with nothing but a disappointed look on his face.
“Normally, he scores that,” Cabrera said.
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The Goats had 25 open-play crosses – 16 of those in the second half – and held a 54-46 edge in possession. Rosales, the team leader in assists with eight, sparked the attack after coming on for countryman Agustín Pelletieri in the 59th minute, but Chivas USA were unable to cash in.
“I really felt like it was a good performance,” goalkeeper Dan Kennedy told reporters. “It was literally the first thing I said after the game, and it was one play that beat us. Unfortunately, we just weren’t able to capitalize on some of the crosses we had. Surely if we can continue to play like we did [Sunday], we’ll be playing for something.”