Carson City, California- The StubHub! Center, September 14, 2013 (Photos: Samuel Coronado)
Chivas USA started this week with a slim chance of making the MLS playoffs. They knew they needed help from other teams but they also knew that they had to do their part also. They had to win all the games left in their schedule. Luckily for Chivas USA, many of their games left were against teams in the Western Conference. If they didn’t make the playoffs, they also could play another role many teams cherish when they know they won’t make the playoffs, the role of the spoilers. They could cause serious damage in the West because they were still playing many teams fighting for a better table position. One of those teams was the Portland Timbers. At the start of this week, Portland was tie for fourth with Colorado and FC Dallas was only two points behind Portland. They needed to come to the StubHub! Center and win this game.
The game started off well for Chivas USA. They had more of the possession and were looking to try to build up their attack. Chivas USA knew that if they tried playing this game up and down; they would be playing into Portland’s strength. Portland almost gave Chivas USA a goal in the form of a mental error. One of the Chivas USA players had the ball and tried to pass it to Erick “El Cubo” Torres but the pass was too far. Donovan Ricketts, the Portland Timber goalkeeper, went to try to kick it out but it went through his legs. If the pass had more power, it would have been a goal. Then a couple minutes later, Portland gave up a costly turnover to Carlos Alvarez. He shot towards goal but Ricketts came up big and made the save.
Then in the 23rd minute, Chivas USA was able to open up the scoreboard. Edgar “El Chore” Mejia had the ball close to the middle of the field. He saw a running Carlos Borja on the left flank and passed it to him. Borja received the ball and took a couple of steps towards the outside of the box. He then crossed it to the top of the box where Bryan de la Fuente was able to jump and beat three Portland defenders to the ball. He headed the ball towards the top right corner and the ball sneaked in. Ricketts tried making the save but the ball was perfectly located that he couldn’t do anything. Chivas USA took the lead and held the one-nil lead into the half.
The second half didn’t start the way Chivas USA had envisioned. Just five minutes into the half, Portland Timbers were able to equalize the game. Diego Valeri was able to score after Jose Valencia gave him a perfect pass inside the box. Valeri had just been substituted in to the game at the beginning of the second half and he made his presence felt immediately. The game was now tied, one-one.
In the 68th minute of the game, Chivas USA was about to regain the lead. “El Cubo” went on a breakaway and had a one on one with Ricketts. It seemed like he wanted to chip the ball over Ricketts and he did. The only problem was the Ricketts dived to try to stop “El Cubo” from chipping the ball but instead of blocking the ball, he blocked “El Cubo’s” run. Rickets kicked “El Cubo” on his leg and that caused him to fall inside the box but the referee awarded the corner kick instead of the penalty kick. The game remained one-one.
According to the Chivas USA manager, Jose Luis “El Guerro” Real, Chivas USA showed effort and quality. He said that Chivas USA has always shown effort. They never give up in any game and play hard throughout the 90 minutes but in this game, Chivas USA showed they can also play with quality. They could play better teams and show that they weren’t outclassed.
Chivas USA travel to Houston to play the Houston Dynamo on September 21.