Well, it was an improvement over the previous game against Seattle, but Chivas USA showed a lot of good and bad play Wednesday against the New England Revolution. They shipped in three goals in 21 minutes, and the night seemed like a total loss, but somehow the Goats clawed their way back and earned a 3-3 draw off of a brace by Shalrie Joseph. A draw is not a good result in the grand scheme of things, but it demonstrated resilience on what appeared to be a lost cause. As a result, we have to take the good with the bad in this one.
The Revs got the scoring started in the 4th minute when forward Saer Sene received a ball over the top of Chivas' defense in the fourth minute. He hesitated to try and sweep Rauwshan McKenzie out of the way, and sent a sharp shot to the far corner of goal. The lead doubled in the 11th minute when Kelyn Rowe sent a cross in from the right that was headed for Jerry Bengtson right in front of goal. Instead of clearing the ball, however, McKenzie tipped the ball into the net for an own goal, Chivas' second in as many games. It got worse again in the 21st minute, when Sene scored his second of the night, as he sent a long-distance bomb past Dan Kennedy to give the Revs a tidy 3-0 lead. Based on Chivas' track record up to this match, it seemed like the Goats had no chance at any points on the night.But the game flipped, and New England's dominance ended as Chivas got back into it. In the 23rd minute, Joseph got his first goal off a corner kick, when he headed in Nick LaBrocca's service. Considering Joseph was stripped just before Sene's second goal, he made up for his mistake with the goal. But he got the second just before the half, as he teed off on a pass from Juan Agudelo outside the box to get Chivas within one. Chivas finished the scoring off on the night in the 47th minute when Miller Bolanos finished a nice sequence when Agudelo crossed into the box from the right, which was headed back across the goalmouth by Casey Townsend, before Bolanos tapped it in. It was Bolanos' second goal in two games.
With that, let's go over some of the talking points of the game:
Joseph was the center of attention: It was a homecoming for Joseph, and he was in the middle of the action all evening. On one hand, he again gave up the ball rather easily in a play that led to a goal, which was another bad blunder for him since joining Chivas. Although I expected him to start, I was wondering why he was selected ahead of Oswaldo Minda. But he found a way to drag Chivas back into the match with his brace, and it was an indication of his ability to assert his presence on a game in a positive way. Could Minda have scored two goals? No, probably not. And Chivas looked completely hopeless in the first 20 minutes, so Joseph's ability to keep the team focused on getting the next goal was big. I'm sure he had mixed feelings heading into the game, and I know that Jay Heaps has to have mixed feelings that he traded Joseph away before facing Chivas this season. Like the rest of the team, it was a mixed night for Joseph, but he was key in bringing the Goats a point in Foxboro.
Defense sabotages team, again: Well, that theory I had that Danny Califf and Rauwshan McKenzie in the lineup would fix everything was all wrong. It's gone from having one of the best defenses in the league to having a defense that can't keep the ball out of the back of the net for anything. In the last four games, they've given up 14 goals, an average of 3.5 a game in that span, and needless to say, that's not a recipe for success. McKenzie in particular had a tough start. Still, they recovered and played out the remaining 70 minutes of the game without letting in a goal. That's small consolation after giving up three goals, and Chivas went to extraordinary lengths to get a point. They are lucky that the attack scored an unprecedented three goals in a game.
Frustration boiling over: Dan Kennedy bodychecked Kelyn Rowe in the 16th minute in what clearly looked like a frustration play. Although it could be argued that Kennedy was trying to hold his ground, he gave Rowe a little extra and that wasn't called for. In the 78th minute, Miller Bolanos shoved A.J. Soares in the face in the Revs box, and a few minutes after that Rauwshan McKenzie caught Ryan Guy in the head with a high boot. I think McKenzie's shot was not malicious or intentional, and again, I think Kennedy's shot could be argued away. But Bolanos' shove looked bad, and looked like frustration. Even if Soares had provoked Bolanos, he can't be goaded into making stupid decisions like that, as some MLS refs would have given a red card for that action. Chivas are quite fortunate that they got back into the game and didn't let their frustration boil over completely, but the leaders need to step up and get the squad to channel their frustrations in the play on the field, not in getting foolishly physical with their opponents.
Looking ahead: The games continue with a Sunday game on the road against the San Jose Earthquakes. Chivas drew 1-1 last time around against the Quakes, but they remain the best team in the league, and Chivas absolutely have to improve if they are going to stop the slide they are on.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!