The process hasn't been pretty, but the results and fight couldn't be more beautiful. The Goats are just finding ways to win games.
Here are 10 observations from Saturday night's win:
1. Burling/Zavaleta - With Bobby Burling out 3-4 weeks with a right medial meniscus tear, there was a bit of worry about whether his absence would affect the recent clean sheet chemistry of the back line. His replacement, Eriq Zavaleta, struggled early on and appeared to be a step behind the action, but his recovery speed continually got him out of trouble. While his marking error on Carlyle Mitchell in the 27th minute was to blame for Vancouver's only goal, Zavaleta picked up the pieces and provided good coverage for the rest of the night.
2. End of shutout streak - CUSA's 3 game shut-out streak ended at 352 minutes and marks the longest such streak in MLS this season. While it was unfortunate the streak had to end - its been a while since we had 4 in a row - the team still found a way to accomplish what really matters the most, getting those 3 points.
3. Delgado making waves on the attack - Most see Marky Delgado as a defensive specialist, but he's recently shown how much he can provide on the attack. Last week against Montreal, we saw his patience in his shot selection at the top of the box that eventually led to a Cubo game winner. This week, he was able to create space for himself on the right flank to send in the game-winning assist. That's now two game-winning big chances created in two consecutive games.
4. The Cubo goal almost never happened - Before Erick Torres was able to do that routine goal scoring thing he does, Leandro Barrera was preparing himself to sub into the game. Two short minutes later, Barrera subbed in to replace Cubo, which is odd considering the score had been tied at 1 prior to the switch and Cubo has been on a five-game scoring streak.
With 13 on the season, Torres is now only one goal behind Ante Razov's 14 for the CUSA single season scoring record.
5. Argentina United - On the eve of Argentina's big day against Germany in the World Cup Final, CUSA's Argentine contingent certainly didn't disappoint. Agustin Pelletieri and Barrera scored their first goals in MLS and Mauro Rosales played a part in all 3 goals scored (an assist hat-trick).
6. What a difference five games makes - In their first 13 games, CUSA earned 10 points. In their last 5 games, they earned 13 points. They have already matched 2013's win total (6), and are only one game below .500. In the eyes of long-time Chivas USA fans, it's quite the achievement.
7. Struggled in the Air - Of the game's 23 aerial duels, CUSA was only able to win 6 and finished with a success rate of only 26% (much lower than the 45% they average on the season). CUSA's defensive tactic of dropping so far back as a unit has resulted in a reliance on the accurate long ball (only 28 off 66 total long balls were deemed accurate).
8. Midfield Pressure - CUSA was once again able to provide enough pressure in VAN's half of the field and by halftime they already recorded 12 interceptions (6 on the attacking side) They were able to finish the game with 20 interceptions (9 on the attacking side).
9. Coming from behind - The 3-1 win in Vancouver marked the first time CUSA has come from behind to win a game since a 3-1 win against FC Dallas in game 2 of last season. The confidence is brewing and it appears the team is doing a better job of not only preserving leads, but demonstrating the resiliency to produce such a result away from home.
10. Here comes Rosales - Lost in all the Cubo hoopla is the incredible surge from Rosales. The 33-year-old Argentine was able to put together 3 assists and jump all the way to 2nd on the MLS assists leader board with 8 on the season. (Interestingly enough, he's tied with 3 other Argentines).
What do you think? Leave a comment below!