CARSON CA - JULY 15: Remember him? (Photo by Jeff Golden/Getty Images).
Penalty kicks are an important component of any soccer team's offense. The thing is that there is no specific strategy concerning penalties - they just happen during a match. Sure, players often try to draw them by playing up contact, falling down in the box, whatever it takes to get a pk. And while some penalties are more transparent than others, luck plays a part in determining when a player is in a position to earn a penalty, and when the penalty is called.
All that said, it's been a really long time since Chivas USA had a penalty called in their favor in league play. Care to guess how long we are talking?
Is that your final answer?If you guessed 624 days, you would be correct. The last time Chivas had a penalty kick, it was on August 7, 2010 against Toronto FC, when Giancarlo Maldonado got a consolation goal in a 2-1 loss. Maldonado now plays in Mexico, for Atlas.
Sure, there's some bad luck contributing to Chivas' failure to even get a whiff of a pk, but 1 year, 8 months and 15 days is a very long time to have such bad luck to hold consistently.
It's been 53 regular season matches. That's more than a season and a half. I told you it's been a really long time.
The point, beyond just being astounded at this stretch, is that Chivas simply have not done enough over this 20+ month period to get in a position to draw a penalty. I have long written about Alejandro Moreno's ability to draw fouls, but he never seems to successfully do that inside the box. And nobody else has been able to take on defenders in the box and go straight for goal with any real competence.
They have periodically been able to successfully hit long-range shots and score goals, but no ability to draw a penalty from a handball. Again, luck is involved, but handballs are a regular occurrence for other teams.
One improvement the team has shown in 2012 so far is increased speed in the attack, but they need to have a player on a breakaway that leads a defender, as the last man, to foul out of desperation.
Obviously, a penalty cannot be willed into existence, and if Chivas can win without them, then it's not a huge deal. But this is a sport often played on a knife's edge, and penalties can prove decisive to results. Chivas need to break this streak in order to bring another common component into their attack.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!