Chivas USA leave their lone trip in 2014 to Red Bull Arena with just one point, as they conceded the tying goal on the last kick of the game against the New York Red Bulls Sunday afternoon in a 1-1 draw. Erick Torres opened the scoring for the Goats in the 25th minute on a penalty, after Thomas McNamara was held in the box by Red Bulls defender Richard Eckersley, but Chivas' strategy to hold onto that lead for the rest of the match failed them in the dying seconds, when Peguy Luyindula emerged unmarked in the box to head home Eric Alexander's corner kick in the 95th minute. It was a gut punch result for the visitors.
With that, let's discuss some of the talking points to come out of this match:
Both streaks stay alive: As part of the preview for this match, I wrote an article highlighting the two streaks that were alive for Chivas. As a result of the draw, both of them remain active. Let's start with the positive first: Chivas' unbeaten run against the Red Bulls continues for one more year, meaning it will last at least five years, maybe longer, if they can continue the run next year as well. So the longest unbeaten streak against a team for Chivas remains intact.
On the other hand, their road winless streak in league play also stretches at least two more weeks longer, quite possibly more, and we're past the year mark at this point. It wasn't like Chivas were beaten fair and square, or that they clawed back into the game and getting a point on the road is a respectable result (it is, all things considered). But had they taken care of that final New York corner, they would have won. The bad streak would have been banished. Instead, they'll have that baggage to carry with them still.
DK comes up big: The main reason Chivas were even in a position to win the game until the final kick was the heroics of Dan Kennedy, especially in the final quarter of the game, when he made several key saves. Fortunately, Chivas have started this year with enough players playing well that their outstanding goalkeeper receded to the background to some extent, but he showed his quality and what he does for this team in spades today. Let's hope Chivas can continue to share the burden of good play, making Kennedy's job easier, but if anybody has reason to be gutted by the result, it's him.
The good news with the attack...Cubo has scored in his first four games of the season, and is co-leading the Golden Boot race leaguewide at the moment. It is early days, of course, and while scoring 34 goals this season would be phenomenal, it is unrealistic to expect. Though two of those goals this year came on penalties, those who have watched Chivas know that PKs are not assured, as the multiple players who messed up on that count last year, resulting in dropped points, indicates. Torres has started his second season for the Amerigoats hot, and if he can keep this run going, Chivas will have a top-notch scoring option every game.
And the bad news with the attack...Cubo scored and all, but Chivas only managed one shot on goal all game. New York may have looked sloppy, lacking the killer final touch, and struggled with linking up, but based on the total run of play, they had way more chances than Chivas on the day. Of course, on the road with a narrow lead, it isn't necessarily unreasonable to try and protect the lead by conceding possession and keeping numbers back, and to some extent, it looked like Chivas did that naturally. Chivas did well to limit New York to just five shots on goal, but the Red Bulls dominated possession in the second half, holding the ball around 65 percent of the time after the break. Again, the circumstances dictated it on some level, and they nearly ran out of the tri-state area with three points, but in order for Chivas to have any real success, the attack needs to be able to provide more than a single PK goal.
Coming up: Chivas face the (not so) beloved LA Galaxy in the first SuperClasico of the year next Sunday. It's worth noting that Chivas have gotten results against their rivals in the first meetings the last two years, before they've had their butts handed to them on subsequent matches. Should be a good one!
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