Carson City, California- Home Depot Center, April 13, 2013 (Photos: Victor Posadas)
Coming back from their bye week, Chivas USA was ready to go against the Colorado Rapids. In the resent fixtures, Chivas USA had impressed everyone around the league not only with their style of play. They were in second place in the Western Conference and fourth place overall. The game did not start the way they had wanted. In the third minute of play, Edson Buddle was able to get off a clean header at goal but Dan Kennedy was there to make the first save. Two minutes later, Chivas USA committed a penalty. The play started when Colorado Rapids player, Dillon Powers, passed the ball to Deshorn Brown. He received the ball but was taken down from behind by Eric Avila. The referee awarded Colorado a penalty kick. Brown took the penalty kick himself and scored. This gave Colorado a 1-0 lead.
Chivas USA didn’t seem stunned by the penalty but they just couldn’t create any offensive plays. They kept passing the ball side to side trying to find spaces in the Rapids’ defence but they couldn’t find any. They were finally able to find space in the 19th minute of the game. Carlos Alvarez had the ball after receiving a chip pass from Avila. He then passed it back to Avila whom then crossed the ball towards Jorge Villafaña. He received the ball and decided to cross the ball but no one was there to receive the pass. It seemed like a better idea was to shot on goal but he decided to pass and that ended any sense of danger that Chivas USA created from that play. After that Colorado again stonewalled any attack Chivas USA seem to create. Chivas kept on probing and probing but just couldn’t find any space to try to do something. Then in the 33rd minute, they almost created a chance on goal. Atiba Harris had the ball in his defensive side of the field. Villafaña went to pressure him and took the ball away. He ran towards the box with Harris behind him trying to disrupt his run. Villafaña fell in the box and the referee called a dive and gave Villafaña a yellow. Depending on how you saw the play, it could have gone either way. It did seem though, that Harris was hitting Villafaña’s legs before he fell.
Three minutes later, Colorado gave up a penalty to Chivas USA. Chivas USA crossed the ball towards the middle of the box. Jose Correa tried jumping for the ball but Shane O’Neill dropped Correa. Right after Correa fell; Chris Klute went straight into Tristan Bowen and dropped him also. The referee awarded Chivas USA a penalty kick. Correa decided to take the penalty himself. As he ran towards the ball, he hesitated to try to confuse the goalie but once he kicked the ball, it sailed and smashed the cross bar. Chivas USA missed the penalty and the score stayed 1-0 in favor of Colorado Rapids.
The second half started a lot better of Chivas USA. They began to play a lot more aggressive since they were able to control more of the ball. Their first opportunity of the second half came in the 58th minute of play. Avila had the ball and was being pressed by a Colorado defender. Avila was then able to get by him and center the ball towards Laurent Courtois. Courtois controlled the ball with his chest, turned and shot on goal. The ball sailed high but Chivas USA now seemed more confident in their attack.
After that, Chivas USA couldn’t find any spacing. Colorado started to play a lot more defensive. They had 11 men behind the ball and Chivas USA just couldn’t find any openings. As the time ticked on, they began to rely on the long ball which did not seem to work. In the first half, they played a lot of shot passes that did create a lot more space. In the second half, they tried getting ahead with the long pass because there was no space to do those short passes. The game finished and snapped Chivas USA’s four game winning streak.
After the game, “Chelis” said, “We had four straight wins and we were playing too cute out there. That is why we lost.” He then said, “We didn’t play well. We were not dignified athletes today. We did things that don’t correspond to this team like missing a penalty. This team can miss opportunities like that.” The team seemed to echo that same thought. They knew that they didn’t come out with the same effort they normally did. Even after the loss, Chivas USA is still in second place in the Western Conference Standings.
Their next game is against Real Salt Lake at Salt Lake City, Utah on April 20th.