6-2. That was the final score at last night’s match as Chivas USA succumbed to the Seattle Sounders. What can one say after such a loss? Is it the coach’s fault? Are the players not playing up to their potential? Or is it the universe just playing a cruel joke on everyone and making it harder for the Goats to get anything done on the field? In this examiners opinion, it’s a combination of all three.
Week in and week out the starting lineups keep changing. Where is the consistency? Where is the coach instilling confidence in a player by trusting him with the duty of starting the match on a constant basis? Was it nice to see Casey Townsend and Tristan Bowen getting the rare start tonight? Sure. As a young prospects, they're hungry for an opportunity to show what they are capable of. But for a player who is still raw, and another who only just recently got back from a loan, is it wise to have them go nearly the full 90 against someone like the Seattle Sounders? They’ll give it their all and get a good shot or two near goal, but will it beenough?
At the same time though, Juan Pablo Angel has shown that he’s not the player he used to be. 90 minutes are almost impossible for him now. Still, he shown that as a super-sub, he’s still got something left in the tank. How much though? Just enough for a quick 5 minute burst? Or maybe enough for 25 minutes? Certainly an offensive jolt at the 65th minute when the Goats were down only 3-2 (following an impressive goal from midfielder Miller Bolaños) could have helped turn the tide. While it wouldn’t have helped on the defensive side of things (more on that in a minute) brining in J.P.A. in could have change the teams’ goal scoring woes.
The defense has been crap. Sorry for the lack of a better term, but that’s how this examiner feels. From wins over Portland, to draws with San Jose, and losses against the neighbors, the defense has yet to instill any kind of confidence. Sure, it has been shuffled more times than a deck of cards. But nearly every combination of defenders has been disastrous (with Dan Kennedy in his usual “bail out” roll). Tonight was no different. Neither Dan Califf nor Raushawn McKenzie (who aren’t spring chickens themselves either) played in the contest, but replacements Bobby Burling and John Valencia were up to the task of letting the other teams’ offense run all over them. Veterans of the backline like James Riley and Ante Jazic fared no better playing some of their worst Soccer in as Roji-Blancos (with the latter scoring an own goal to ice the match at 6-2). Seattle didn’t simply beat them; they publicly undressed the defense, exposing their many faults. The obvious being that Dan Kennedy is not Superman. Try all he can, he cannot keep the team in contention for a result all by himself. Allowing 6 goals in a match (even if most of them aren’t your fault) certainly won’t look good in the eye of a National team coach looking for new prospects in the player pool.
So in the end, what do we have? Good players? Check. Devoted supporters? Check. A good team? Not by a long shot. The supporters have hit their breaking point for the year. It seems the players have too if you believe the scuttlebutt from the little birdies.
The Goats are a pretty fortunate team off the field. With a General Manager that has tried to change things up (albeit with older players) to a schedule that currently sees them with 4 matches in hand (that would translate to 12 points) the team is in a good position to make the post season. Unfortunately for them, they would have to win those 4 matches (2 in a row is the max streak they’ve managed to put together all season). With everyone looking onto the 5th and final playoff spot held by Vancouver, FC Dallas has now managed to surge leaving the Goats behind in 7th place. The breaks for the Goats have been there for a better season. Yet they've failed to capitalize each and every time all year long.
And after the events last night, no positive can undo the sheer embarrassment of a 6-2 beating.