Chivas USA were in another country Sunday, but their downward spiral knows no borders.
The Goats were held scoreless for the ninth time in 10 games and their defense was once again overmatched, making the 3-0 loss to Toronto FC a microcosm of what they have gone through for the better part of three months.
They had only two shots on goal – their first finally arriving in the 83rd minute – as they took the pitch without the suspended Erick “Cubo” Torres for the fourth consecutive game.
“We tried and we made some changes,” head coach Wilmer Cabrera told reporters at BMO Field. “But we couldn’t find clear possibilities to score a goal.”
Their golden opportunity came in the 43rd minute when, trailing 1-0, Donald Toia sent a lob into the box that reached Eric Avila on the far side. Avila controlled the feed, but was unable to keep his shot down as it sailed high and wide.
“The guys were trying to come back and we had a good chance to tie the game, but we couldn’t finish that,” Cabrera said.
Defensively, some old issues resurfaced. Toronto put the game away thanks to a couple of set-piece goals, the first coming in stoppage time just before the half. Michael Bradley’s corner kick found Nick Hagglund on the back post, and Hagglund's cushioned header back across the area was volleyed home by former Chivas forward Luke Moore to double the lead.
“We were looking to get to halftime down just one-nil and, unfortunately, we gave up that second goal on the set piece right before halftime,” goalkeeper Dan Kennedy said. “So it kind of made the battle a little bit more difficult, an uphill climb heading into the second half.”
Toronto got another goal off a corner kick in the 54th minute when the Goats’ inability to clear the ball allowed Gilberto to score from point-blank range. It was the 14th goal Chivas USA have allowed in just four games this month.
The Goats have scored only twice in their previous 10 games, and they were dealt their sixth consecutive loss – a rough patch that has been overshadowed only by their brutal 11-game winless drought.
“Every time we got on the ball, [Toronto] made sure they were behind it,” Kennedy said. “They went pretty conservative defensively after that. We gave up [the second] set-piece goal and that was game, set, match right there.”