After a couple days of massive news off the field, Chivas USA returned to action on the pitch Saturday, playing the New England Revolution in both teams' second Desert Diamond Cup game of the 2014 preseason. Going down to New England 2-0 early on in the game, the Goats rallied and won 3-2, behind goals from Erick Torres, Carlos Alvarez, and Mauro Rosales.
The Revs opened up the scoring in the 11th minute on a free kick from Lee Nguyen. His kick bypassed Chivas' wall to the side, but the camera angle didn't really indicate whether he put significant bend on the ball or if the defense wasn't positioned properly. Then, they doubled their lead in the 20th minute, when Teal Bunbury, recently traded from Sporting Kansas City to New England, finished off a pass at close range.
But rather than fold, the Goats sprung back to life. They pulled a goal back in the 25th minute, when Thomas McNamara took the ball to the byline and sent a cross into the box, which Torres latched onto for a sweet volley goal.
In the second half, Chivas continued the intensity, finally equalizing in the 54th minute. Rosales hit a no-look pass to break Cubo into space on the edge of the box, where he reached the byline and crossed the ball back into the box. With McNamara also descending on the ball, Alvarez got to it first, and made no mistake on the finish.
Then, Rosales gave Chivas the lead in spectacular fashion in the 74th minute. After Cubo drew a foul to the left of the box, the Argentine took a direct free kick that went in the side netting beyond the far post. It was really something, and hopefully something he can replicate during the regular season.
All in all, the attack looked good on the night, with raves for the three goal scorers and McNamara in particular. Matthew Fondy's energy also helped Chivas get back into the game. On the other hand, the defense had difficulty early on, and while Chivas' increased possession as the game wore on helped release some pressure from the defense, that part of the field is still a concern, no question.
Here was the starting lineup for Chivas:
At halftime, Jackson made way for another goalkeeper trialist, Trevor Spangenberg, who also played in Chivas' 1-1 draw Wednesday against FC Tucson. Spangenberg played collegiately at Missouri State, and went undrafted in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft. For the moment, it appears he is competing with Jackson for the third GK position.
Alvarez replaced Fragoso at halftime, as well.
In the 68th minute, Argentine Leandro Barrera replaced Fondy. He made a few forays towards goal with the ball, but I didn't get a major impression of him based on that performance.
Kris Tyrpak came in for Cubo in the 85th minute, and Marky Delgado made his preseason debut in the 88th minute for Minda.
Here are the highlights from the match, if you missed the game:
Not to be a downer, but although the rally was a great sign, and especially in light of the roller coaster journey this club's been on this week, we must remember that this is still preseason. I don't care if the Goats win 10-0 in preseason games, they need to be able to get good results in the games that count in order for the preseason work to pay off. Let's hope these remaining prep games do just that.
Oh, but on the Desert Diamond Cup front, Chivas are in second place at the moment, trailing only the Chicago Fire. The Goats play the Colorado Rapids once again Wednesday at noon, and then will play an opponent to be determined next Saturday. So far, they in the running to make the title game, so if they get a good win Wednesday, they could be in line to compete for a trophy, albeit a preseason trophy. Still, I wouldn't exactly turn it down, though I stress the season is what matters. Basically, I'm of two minds on this at the moment.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!