Well, that didn't go as planned.
True to history, Chivas USA once again found themselves looking for answers against an LA Galaxy side that was able to do as they pleased. It was CUSA's second loss on the season and both times, the defense has let in three goals.
Here's 10 observations from Sunday's game, a game I'd like to pretend never happened.
The Galaxy found space on the right consistently - There was a number of occasions where the Galaxy would play with possession and draw a flood of defenders to the left side of the field. A quick long ball switch to the right would almost always find a unmarked Galaxy player wide open. Andrew Jean-Baptiste and Thomas McNamara had a tough time keeping up concentration and focus on their defensive side of the field and the backdoor was left open all game long.
High lines equal rough times - Trying to relieve some of the pressure, CUSA usually had their defenders pressing high, with fullbacks AJB and Eric Avila trekking up to help the attack. This left Carlos Bocanegra and Eriq Zavaleta alone to battle quick 3-2, sometimes 4-2 counters.
They lost the midfield battle - As mentioned before, this was the type of game that required an Oswaldo Minda type of destroyer in the middle (it's been the case for three games now). CUSA's inability to put any pressure on the attack allowed LAG plenty of time to stay efficient and effective. As a result, LAG made no mistakes in the middle, which essentially took away any chance CUSA had at getting a result.
Juninho could not be stopped - Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan, and Stefan Ishizaki will get all the headlines, but Juninho did an effective job at linking the defense to the attack. He had by far the biggest influence on the game by effectively linking the defense to the attack. His 88 touches were second only to Gonzalez and when you consider he connected on 95 percent of his passes, he could do no wrong.
Lack of creativity in the final third - When they actually made it into an attacking position, only two of CUSA's 326 successful passes were completed into the box (a Rosales chip in the 40th, and an Avila pass in the 82nd).
McNamara is being McMisManaged - Wilmer Cabrera clearly likes what McNamara brings to the team and believes he's versatile enough to play various positions but, as a result, his talents aren't properly being used. He only had 25 touches on Sunday and was just not involved out on the left wing. He was moved to more of a central role after Leandro Barrera subbed in at halftime, but in order to be truly effective, he needs to play up top alongside Erick Torres.
Alvarez's troubles in the final third - Carlos Alvarez had a fine rookie season and seemed relatively productive playing alongside relatively unproductive mids. By no means do I think he's regressed this year, but for an attacking midfielder, he repeatedly struggled to connect his passes in the final third and once again, it appeared the game was just a tad too fast for him.
Miscommunication in the back - Avila still adapting to life at RB, Zavaleta only getting his third start at CB, and AJB playing out of position at LB, it was only a matter of time before the lack of chemistry and experience would surface. It almost seemed as if the Galaxy was trying to take advantage of it by lobbing the ball into the attack and hoping for the CUSA backline to fall out of sorts. The offside traps were continually disorganized, the potential for an athletic backline like Sunday's could be something special for the future, but it needs time.
Lacking in the Attack - They only had five shots on the day (only one on target), and didn't get their first shot until the 81st minute. In previous games, CUSA usually did a decent job on the counter, creating something against the run of play, but this time around, they couldn't even develop that. To have any chance at an improved attack, possession needs to be better. If you're unable to get the ball, you're gonna be spending a lot of time on the defensive end.
And if you're gonna be spending most of the time on the defensive end, when your defense is already the liability, well you lose games 3-0.
Lineup issues - Aside from the changes in the backline, Cabrera also fiddled around with unexpected lineup decisions. Barrera, who has been one of the bright spots on the roster, started the game on the bench. He was subbed in at halftime -- a move that pretty much had Cabrera admitting his 45 minute mistake.
The two decisions up top were equally puzzling. Luke Moore, a poacher who lacks creativity on the break, took the spot next to Cubo up top. I don't know if this move had anything to do with trying to keep his players happy by giving them minutes, because it didn't make sense for the game plan. The strange substitution of Bofo coming in for Cubo in the 79th minute had to have been for that very reason. There's no other explanation, Bofo had no business in this game.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!