Photo by ISIphotos.com
By ADAM SERRANO
CARSON,CALIF — The Martin Vasquez era began on Friday night, but not with the bang that was expected from the new coach as Chivas USA fell 1-0 at Home Depot Center – their first opening day loss since 2005.
The fans at the Home Depot Center were treated to a club that appeared not to be fully adjusted to Vasquez's new system. With a number of players and the manager making their debuts, Chivas showed that there is still work to be done to get the club completely up to speed.
"At times we were not effective and at times they were solid defensively, it might take us a few games to get into a good rhythm," said Vasquez. "Hopefully, we can get some results and get our rhythm as soon as possible."
Chivas had a number of opportunities towards goal, but were unable to connect their passes in the attacking third as the attacks were broken up by the Colorado defense. An area of particular concern for Martin Vasquez was the play along the flanks as Jorge Flores and Michael Lahoud struggled to get behind the Rapids defenders which led to a series of turnovers.
Paired with Osael Romero in the center of the midfield, Chivas USA captain Sacha Kljestan was given room to run the offense, but the US International was unable to break the bunker down tactics of Colorado. The midfielder found it difficult to operate, as he struggled to find space to create offensive opportunities due to constant pressure from Colorado's rugged midfield tandem of Jeff Larentowicz and Pablo Masteroeni.
"We didn't create enough (offense) and I don't think that we did a very good job of dealing with a club that was sitting back," said Kljestan. "We need to do a better job of recognizing that and being able to break down any team that tries to sit back in the box."
Romero showed glimpses of the talent that he brings to Chivas USA, making a number of dangerous runs while also showing his skill for distributing the ball. However, the midfielder will need to adjust to the physical play of MLS after being frequently knocked off the ball by the stronger Rapids midfield.
"He played average, he needs to get used to the rhythm and the physical play, said Vasquez. We are aware that he's not a 100 percent fit, but with his quality passes and creativity, he can help us in the future."
There were positive notes for the club though, as Chivas continued to display their trademark stability in the back. Goalkeeper Dan Kennedy performed admirably, replacing injured starter Zach Thornton in his first start after missing all of 2009 with an injury, even making an beautiful save on a shot by Cummings before halftime. The defensive pair of Jonathan Bornstein and Michael Umaña was sturdy in the back, but both were caught out of position on the deflection that lead to Cummings' goal.
"There are a lot of positives that we can take from this match, we played very well in the defense apart from the goal, but we've got a pretty new team here and we need to adjust," said Bornstein. "We had great possession of the ball, but we need to create more chances in the attacking third so that we can be competitive."
The Rojiblancos will have little time to dwell on the performance as they prepare for the first Super Clásico against their in-stadium nemesis, the Galaxy on Thursday. Chivas will look to break a seven game win-less streak against their arch-rivals, a streak that dates back to September, 2007. Following Friday's defeat, Bornstein was eager to turn the page to the date with the rivals.
"We've got a big game coming up against the Galaxy and we're going to have to turn our gears away from this match and get ready for Thursday."