Add another example to the long list of letdowns this year for Chivas USA.
The reeling Goats found a new way to lose Saturday afternoon, spoiling a scintillating start in their 4-2 road defeat to the Seattle Sounders. They grabbed two separate leads to silence a raucous crowd, yet walked away with their seventh consecutive loss to officially be eliminated from playoff contention and cap a month that had been unforgiving.
“It is important that players understand that the only way for us to get out of this slump is by getting on the field with intensity,” Chivas USA head coach Wilmer Cabrera told reporters at CenturyLink Field. “We can’t just give up right away because we received one goal. We’ve been talking and they’re committed. Right now, what we need to think is if we can play the next four games with this intensity, we’re going to win some points.”
For a group that had dropped six in a row and 10 of their last 11 overall heading into the lopsided matchup between teams on opposite sides of the standings, Chivas USA certainly didn’t appear to be feeling sorry for themselves against the league leaders.
For the first half hour, the Rojiblancos were a version of the gutsy team they had shown to be earlier this season. Their leading scorer was back on the pitch, giving them a true threat in counter situations. And in his first appearance since Aug. 31, forward Erick “Cubo” Torres – who earlier in the week received his second call up to the Mexican national team – broke his personal dry spell with a goal in the 12th minute. It was his first since July 20 and his 15th on the season, making him the club’s single-season record holder.
Seattle responded two minutes later when Obafemi Martins netted the equalizer, yet the Goats answered with some more grit on the breakaway.
With the Sounders pushing, Torres gathered a Leandro Barrera shot that ricocheted off the crossbar, spun around and sent an attempt toward net. Félix Borja tapped the ball forward with his right foot and off Jalil Anibaba before breaking out a celebration dance.
That resilience is what the first-year manager wanted to see.
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“We came to play an even game,” said Cabrera. “The intensity was good and we created options.”
The Sounders, however, scored three unanswered, highlighted by a game-winner from Clint Dempsey a minute into first-half stoppage time, to hand the Goats yet another loss.
The loss was not the end result Cabrera wanted, but he was encouraged, if not satisfied, by the performance.
“They are one of the top teams in this league, if not the best,” Cabrera said. “But no doubt that with the mentality and intensity players put on the field, we watched and enjoyed a good game.”