SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 08: A skirmish breaks out during the match between the Seattle Sounders FC against Chivas USA at CenturyLink Field on September 8, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. The Sounders defeated Chivas 2-1. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Chivas USA defied expectations and nearly escaped Seattle with a point. Instead the team saw its winless streak extended to six games as Eddie Johnson buried a header in the 89th minute elevating the Seattle Sounders into second place in the Western Conference.
Postgame analysis and reaction after the jump!
A good defensive effort
As the score indicates, this was one of Chivas's finest defensive performances. Defensively the team was composed and played as a unit. Chivas's aggression on defense led to several Seattle turnovers. By clogging the passing lanes (15 interceptions) to go with 21 successful tackles.
That said, whether intentionally planned or not I cannot say, Robin Fraser's squad is less about maintaining possession and building from the back that was the mantra of the early season. Instead the Goats seem content to cede possession to the opposition and hope to strike with a counterattack.
This is evident in the passing statistics. Seattle completed 502 passes, the most any opponent has completed since May. The Sounders passing accuracy was 85% accuracy, just a tick lower from Chivas USA's season high of 86%. Finally, Chivas was out possessed 66-34 in the first half. They did win possession enough to bring it to 60-40 in the end, their second lowest possession rate of the season.
The combination of Raushan McKenzie and Danny Califf kept Seattle's offensive at bay. When Califf went out with an injury, Fraser brought on Tristan Bowen and moved Shalrie Joseph to the center back position. It was a bold move that ultimately backfired for the squad. Joseph, playing out of position, struggled to keep up with Fredy Montero eventually earning a yellow card. Montero beat Joseph and his cross led to Johnson's game winning goal.
Beneficiaries of botched call
Chivas was lucky that referee clearly botched a handball in the box on Miller Bolanos. The replay clearly shows the Ecuadorian swiping the ball with his elbow. In the 77th minute the referee also nearly let the game get out of hand.
Youth is being served
Only two starters, Danny Califf and Shalrie Joseph, are over 30 while six starters are 25 or younger. The trio of Casey Townsend, Juan Agudelo and Nick LaBrocca could really be a core group of players the team can build around.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!