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Chivas USA 0, Rapids 1 (A Look back)

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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."


  1. Thought Vazquez made a mistake pulling Flores, he was their most active player in attempting to make runs…

    Also Lahoud is needed in the mid-field…not on the wings. I think in the end it is going to be Sacha OR Romero in the mid-field.

  2. The Rapids were very close last year to being a good team.

    Playing Chivas is always a low scoring affair.

    Probably should have titles this Chivas Loses at Home or something like that.

  3. Yes, thank you Adam for the one sided game report. 🙂 In my book, the Rapids have the two best forwards in the league and the defense has been greatly solidified with the addition of Marvell Wynne. The only question now is the new midfield tandem. They looked good last Friday night, I see the potential to great things to come but the proof is in the pudding. Go Rapids!

  4. Yeah, no that’s not what happened at all, but OK. Like, I understand the tendency here is to just accuse the team you don’t like of playing the long ball but that’s not what Colorado was up to at all.

    If it’s criticism that can be levied against ANY MLS team then it’s not exactly original or intelligent to say “OOOOHHH THEY PLAYED THE LONG BALL LOLOLOLOL”

  5. It’s almost like Chivas beat themselves from the way people are writing.

    Colorado Rapids: “It’s not like we actually win games, we just oblidge other teams when they want to lose.”

  6. there was no need to write about colorado because they play the same tired boring football we have seen forever in mls, pack 8 men in the back half and just kick the ball down field with a hope that one of the two forwards can get lucky on a bad bounce and steal a goal, yes it works but it’s ugly football.

  7. The ball has to go through the wings for both teams when Colorado comes to town. Gary Smith wants to play through the wings and with Pablo and Jeff in midfield they’re forming a nice wall to try to break through.

    It seemed Chivas tried to contain Conor Casey and did a good job on that, but Cummings is poised for a real breakout year. Rapids goalie had better learn to catch the ball instead of punching everything that comes near him though!

  8. Agreed with the comments above… this column should have been titled “Chivas: Week One.” If you want to write from their perspective fine, but don’t pretend otherwise.

    Hopefully though, Ives west coast coverage does not resemble the NY-centric coverage we already get. You guys have a lot of insight, spread it around.

  9. Rapids are going to be solid this year. I love our central midfield tandem. Teams are going to have a hard time breaking them down.

  10. I think Chivas surely miss Preki’s intensity…They could be in for a long season, if they don’t pick it up. Look for the Galaxy to reign supreme in LA again this year…

  11. I was talking about the 2-3 times he screwed up and goals were not scored luckily. He had a horrible given away right at the 18 but the Rapids were so surprised they couldn’t take advantage of it. He just isn’t a centerback but that’s not his fault it’s the coach.

  12. Kjlestan and Bornstein are not good enough for the US Squad. Well Bornstein looks to be closer of the two to making it but, i will be hypervenitating if Bornstein actually plays in the WC and makes the US squad because of his usual blunders that give the other teams the win/tie.

    Now if they invent a “Learn to Avoid Big mistakes” Phonics kit that i could pick up at K-mart, I would gladly pick it up and give it too Bornstein in an instant so we dont have too hyperventilate at what terrible blunder he is going to make next in a US shirt vs teams around our level or better.

  13. Agree with Kevin and couch, this must’ve been penned by the SBI Chivas beat writer (at least for the sake of Adam’s journalistic credentials, I hope so).

    Colorado’s central midfield is going to create problems for a lot of teams this year. Need Clark to stay healthy on the wing.

    Euroman, so it was Bornstein’s fault that Cummings laced a nasty split-second turnaround into the corner? Sometimes strikers get lucky. Cummings was unlucky most of the night (could’ve had another goal and two assists to Conor) but happened to get lucky on a turnaround to which not a single defender had time to react. I don’t see that as a “blunder” by Bornstein by any means.

    (SBI-Adam is our LA-based writer, so the stories have recently had a more Galaxy/Chivas USA lean to them, but we’ll definitely be striking a better balance going forward so that our non-LA fans get their fix as well.)

  14. Vasquez got out coach big time when Wynne was put in the CB position to take Galindo completely out of the game. Galindo can do one thing and that’s run fast but Wynne is faster…. at that point Chivas was completely out of ideas. Poor Johnny Bornstein, he plays well for 88 minutes of evey game but make 2-3 blunders every match that kills you when he’s the last defender. CB he is NOT but he is a good MLS LB so Vasquez needs to play him there. Looong season ahead for Chivas.

  15. Hmmm, a bit Chivas-centric of a write-up. No real commentary about the Rapids’ play or quotes from their locker room? Nothing about Wynne’s debut or how Colorado’s offense sputtered due to a lack of link up play in the midfield?

  16. You mean, “Chivas USA 0-1 Some team we won’t mention at all”, right? If you’re going to only talk about Chivas USA, fine, but don’t pretend it’s a look back at the game. It’s a look back about what Chivas did and not what Colorado did.

    Also, the reason Kljestan shouldn’t be in the 23 for the WC is we need 3 points in the group stage games, not 1. He’s off-form at the worst time.


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