A compact, conservative style has not been too kind to Chivas USA the last month, but it doesn’t appear that they have any intent to abandon it – not with a couple of reinforcements entering the picture, at least.
The Goats have not scored a goal since July 20 and are a mere 25 minutes from surpassing the Houston Dynamo for the league’s longest scoring drought of the year, yet the blueprint could very well remain unaltered moving forward.
“It worked when we were winning four games in a row, and it hasn’t worked as well since,” assistant coach Paul Caffrey told reporters over the weekend. “Part of that coincides with [Erick Torres] scoring 14 goals and ‘Cubo’ hasn’t scored recently. But you can’t just be relying on one player to solve that problem for you. We need other players.
“If we continue to create chances where other players have chances, it takes a little bit of pressure off Cubo and we can walk away with some points.”
Torres has not found the back of the net during Chivas USA’s five-game winless streak, which accumulates to a 456-minute slump. He told reporters last week he intended to regain his groove before joining the Mexican national team for upcoming friendlies in early September.
Yet an integral part of that formula – Mauro Rosales and his team-best eight assists – is now gone. Chivas USA did pick up two pieces last week in midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker (in exchange for Rosales) and defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, but neither played in Saturday’s 1-0 road loss against the New England Revolution.
“Any time you make those changes, you’re making those changes to improve the team,” Caffrey said. “They are two quality, veteran players, so in our mind they are two players that are going to help us tremendously going forward because they can also help those around them. That’s the hope for those two as we make a push to the last 10 games.”
Said goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, who has worn the captain’s armband the last month as Carlos Bocanegra recovers from a concussion: “We’ll accept them with open arms. Hopefully they’ll have their feet under them and they’re ready to go.”
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The final stretch appears challenging, with or without reinforcements. Up next on the schedule are home matchups against the LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders FC, followed by five consecutive games against teams that would be in the playoffs if the season ended today.
“We had a real good stretch in July, and through that stretch, that’s what we were doing -- we were staying compact,” Kennedy said. “With 10 games left, we need to make sure every game is close and we’re in it to have that opportunity to win. If we play like we did [Saturday], we’ll have those opportunities.”