Saturday, April 28, 2012
CHIVAS USA: Tight clash turns sour
By Scott French
Chivas USA's match Saturday night at Colorado was following form: decent ball movement, not enough chances, zero finishing and a fifth one-goal loss on the horizon.
The Rapids turned a tight clash into a farce at the finish, scoring three goals in the final dozen minutes to romp to a 4-0 triumph, a scoreline that reflects only the conclusion.
Three quick thoughts on the Goats' first loss in four road games:
1. NO OFFENSE
It's the same old story for Chivas, which has only four goals in eight games -- a horrendous total, worst in Major League Soccer. And it's not for lack of trying.
Chivas had better possession, as is customary, especially in the second half, and it unleashed 14 shots, four of them on target. Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens came up big a few times -- especially on diving back-to-back saves in the 30th minute against Laurent Courtois and Juan Pablo Angel -- and a Courtois header bounced off the underside of the crossbar in the 55th.
Ryan Smith offered a bit of life immediately after coming on about 15 minutes into the second half, his penetrating pass creating a chance Nick LaBrocca placed across the goalmouth and past the right post. Chivas could have used more from him.
Angel, making his first start since the opener, is still finding his form. He had his moments but wilted from a lack of support early and wasn't sharp enough once Chivas got its attack going.
Chivas has taken 35 shots the past two games without finding the net. That has to change because playing well is not enough.
2. DEFENSIVE MISCUES
Solid defending has been the foundation of nearly every bit of success Chivas has found this season, and when the Goats most needed some Saturday, it wasn't there. Neither outside back, Ante Jazic nor James Riley, had his best outing, and each was susceptible on two of Colorado's goals.
Jazic was beaten on Tony Cascio's goal to break the tie five minutes into the second half -- the rookie took Hunter Freeman's corner kick off his chest, found space, and fired through a narrow passage and inside the far post -- and committed the foul (pulling down Jeff Larentowicz) that led to the penalty kick in the 84th minute (by Larentowicz) that made it 3-0.
Riley and a sliding Heath Pearce were beaten on Omar Cummings' pass to set up the first of two Kamani Hill goals, which doubled the advantage in the 82nd, and Riley's sliding clearance when Brian Mullan tried to feed Larentowicz in stoppage merely teed the ball up for Hill's finale. It was over by then anyway.
3. HOME VS. ROAD
The Goats are 0-4 at home, all 1-0 losses. They were 3-0 on the road before this one. Teams that don't collect points at home will never make the playoffs. Consider Chivas' game Friday night against Chicago at Home Depot Center must-win.
MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
Dick's Sporting Goods Park (Commerce City, Colo.)
Colorado Rapids 4, Chivas USA 0 Colo -- Tony Cascio (Hunter Freeman) 50
Colo -- Kamani Hill (Omar Cummings) 82
Colo -- Jeff Larentowicz pen. 84
Colo -- Kamani Hill 93+
Colorado Rapids: Matt Pickens; Kosuke Kimura (Hunter Freeman, 46), Drew Moor, Marvell Wynne, Luis Zapata; Martin Rivero (Kamani Hill, 70), Jeff Larentowicz, Jaime Castrillon; Brian Mullan, Omar Cummings (Conor Casey, 92+), Tony Cascio. Unused subs: Andre Akpan, Steward Ceus, Tyrone Marshall, Wells Thompson.
Chivas USA: Dan Kennedy; James Riley, Rauwshan McKenzie, Heath Pearce, Ante Jazic (Blair Gavin, 85); Oswaldo Minda; Miller Bolaņos, Paolo Cardozo (Casey Townsend, 73), Nick LaBrocca, Laurent Courtois (Ryan Smith, 59); Juan Pablo Angel. Unused subs: Scott Gordon, Michael Lahoud, Patrick McLain, John Alexander Valencia.
Yellow cards: Larentowicz 59, Freeman 75.
Referee: Kevin Stott. Att.: 10,969.
Records: Colorado 4-4-0, 12 points; Chivas USA 3-5-0, 9 points.