Photo by ISIphotos.com
BY ADAM SERRANO
Chivas USA needed an infusion of energy after opening up the season with two straight losses. Against the high-flying New York Red Bulls, the Rojiblancos got that boost of energy from substitute Jesus Padilla, which helped Chivas USA generate enough offense to give Martin Vasquez his first coaching victory.
"I'm very proud of my team and how they responded after the opening two losses," said Vasquez. "It wasn't pretty at times, but we know that we can score and we know that we can defend against good teams."
For the Red Bulls (2-1), the match left much to be desired after two impressive showings in the club's matches. The quality service that led the club to victories in the first pair of matches abandoned the club as they arrived at Home Depot Center. While New York was successful with their passing skill in the club's previous two matches against Chivas USA, the club was unable to get the last pass needed to create chances on goal.
"We had no energy and a lack of quality in the passing game, I would say that we didn't show up today," said Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe. "Everyone had a really poor day and we looked tired over 90 minutes, but I feel that it could have been a draw."
With a line up boasting a number of changes, Chivas USA (1-2) was far removed from the team that had been punished in the midfield against its first two opponents. Out was the midfield diamond replaced by a 4-4-2 with defender Jonathan Bornstein moved up to the midfield. The move generated offense but the Rojiblancos were unable to get on the board.
In a match that had been even until his inclusion, it was the energy of Padilla that created chances for Chivas USA in the second half. Although the midfielder has often struggled to find his place in the line up, Padilla was at the right place at the right time on Saturday. Replacing the injured Ante Jazic, Padilla's energy gave Chivas the extra effort needed to finally capitalize on their scoring chances.
After coming in, the midfielder was extremely threatening, firing the shot that Red Bulls goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul pushed into his own net. With their first goal of the season, Chivas USA appeared to settle and gain control of the match. The match was sealed for the Rojiblancos after Jesus Padilla beat defender Jeremy Hall after receiving a long goal kick from Zach Thornton. After bypassing his marker, Padilla was able to slot the shot past the Red Bulls goalkeeper.
"That's just the way soccer is, sometimes you get the opportunities to score and you've got to put them away," said Padilla. "I think that we deserved this win after our two opening losses and we just didn't want to lose anymore, we wanted the win so we need to enjoy it."
One of the most disappointing performances was that of Red Bulls captain Juan Pablo Angel. The talismanic striker was devoid of service from his midfield and was frequently stranded with no opportunity to operate. The forward was also blanketed by Chivas' new Costa Rican center defense tandem of Michael Umana and Dario Delgado, who were responsible for further limiting his effectiveness for the Red Bulls. The play of New York's offense further stagnated after goalkeeper Coundoul's error provided Chivas with a goal early in the second half that forced the Red Bulls to chase the game, a task which proved too much for the Red Bulls.
" We didn't manage to set the tempo at all in the match and we're second best all over the field," said Angel. "However, we've been progressing throughout this season and we should do a lot better than we did today so now it's time for us to show our character going forward."
The two clubs will now look ahead to next weekend's matches. Chivas USA will travel to Houston for a match against the Dynamo while the Red Bulls will return to Red Bull Arena to take on FC Dallas.