Originally posted on Total MLS  |  Last updated 5/27/12

Chivas USA claimed another valuable point on Saturday night, as they held the Seattle Sounders to a 1-1 tie at the HDC, which leaves the Goats unbeaten in four games. In a game that highlighted both the strengths and weaknesses of Chivas USA, both sides scored in an entertaining second half and shared the spoils of a fairly open game. Making his return from international duty Juan Agudelo scored his first goal for the Rojiblancos after the break but it was quickly undone by an Estrada equalizer for Seattle. With an encouraging attacking performance being cancelled out by a defensive error, it is result that will no doubt leave Coach Robin Fraser disappointed but somewhat satisfied.

After another confidence-destroying home defeat against Chicago on the 5th of April, things were not about to get any easier for The Goats. Their next run of games would see them come up against arguably the best teams in MLS. San Jose, LA Galaxy, New York Red Bull, Seattle Sounders and Real Salt Lake made up a list of opponents that would worry fans of any team in MLS. All these teams, with the exception of the Galaxy, are currently competing at the top of their Conference and had been on a good run of form. So after four of these fixtures now having been played, and Chivas USA coming out at the other end with six points and sixth place in the West, fans are quite rightly delighted at the recent run of results. This unbeaten run of four games even left Chivas disappointed at not taking all three points against high-flying Seattle on Saturday. Despite sharing the points, both teams would have been disappointed in not getting all three but will still leave satisfied they didn’t leave with nothing.

Overall, Chivas USA put in what can be described as a mixed performance. Some good attacking and possession play resulted in Chivas USA taking the lead early in the second half and putting them on course for victory. However, this was then cancelled out by a Seattle equalizer gifted to them by the Chivas defense, which ultimately ruined all the good momentum they were building. The game highlighted not only the areas where Chivas are continuing to improve upon but unfortunately the areas where they are also still letting themselves down in.

The first half, like most at the Home Depot Center, was lacking in any real chances but was dominated by Chivas USA. Both sides had some good opportunities to take the lead but a scoreless first half was again the outcome for the home fans. A long range shot from John Valencia and a soft penalty claim from Riley was all that really the excited the crowd but the movement and passing in the attacking sequences was evidently better than in previous games.

As the players returned for the second half, it was the visitors who capitalized on their positive end to the first half and started to put the Goats under some real pressure. Despite Seattle searching for the opener, it was Chivas who would take the lead in the 57th minute with their first goal from open play at the HDC all year. In a well worked move, James Riley sent in a wonderful pinpoint cross into the box that found the head of the on-rushing Agudelo, who then outleaped the Seattle defense, to send the ball into the back of the net. Not only was it finally a successful attacking move from Chivas USA, but it was the first home goal from open play for both Chivas USA and new-Goat Juan Agudelo. Moving the ball around with confidence, this goal gave Chivas USA a lead to build on and a chance at putting the game beyond the Sounders. Yet, after only four minutes their momentum was killed off. A dangerous but defendable ball was sent into the Chivas box towards the towering Colombian defender John Alexander Valencia, who had been brought into the defense at the expense of Rauwshan McKenzie. However, the center-back somehow managed to miss the ball completely, fall over and allow David Estrada to guide the ball goalwards for the equalizer. It was an innocent mistake from the defender, but just another example of a lapse in concentration and/or luck that has epitomized the dropping of points by Chivas USA.

Almost immediately, Valencia found himself substituted for McKenzie and the Colombian took his frustrations out on a water bottle before disappearing up the tunnel. Robin Fraser was clearly unhappy at the way in which they had just conceded but there was still time left for a winner. In a slightly uncharacteristic manner Chivas USA actually took the game to Seattle in the closing stages rather than playing it out for a tie. As expected, this left Chivas vulnerable and, as per usual, Dan Kennedy was on hand to keep the Sounders shots at bay.

Despite dominating in possession Chivas USA were still found wanting in the final third. With just 5 attempts on goal compared to Seattle’s 11, any good attacking move was snuffed out before it could become dangerous for the backline of the visitors. As the game ended, a 1-1 tie was visibly frustrating for both sets of players and each would argue that they deserved more. However, with the game relatively open throughout and chances not being taken both Chivas and Seattle will be quietly happy with a point.

Going into a three week break from MLS action, another hard-earned point, in this once dreaded run of games, is extremely pleasing. Six points from a possible twelve is a lot more than perhaps expected from fans after such a poor run at home this year. With Real Salt Lake up next, in what could be considered the end of run, there is enough time for the Goats to reflect on their frustration, and build on what is turning out to be a very promising run of form.

(image courtesy of Getty Images)

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