Chivas USA Coach Martin Vasquez correctly identified the threat posed by the Colorado Rapids before Friday night's game in Carson.
The trouble was, his Chivas USA players failed to find a way to stop Jamaican national team forward Omar Cummings. They kept him in check for 89 minutes, but all it took was the other 60 seconds for Cummings to make the difference.
His goal in the 55th minute at the Home Depot Center earned the Rapids a 1-0 victory in the Major League Soccer season opener for both teams. Colorado was 2-10-2 in the season's first game and had never won a road opener.
All in all, it was a disappointing evening for Vasquez in his coaching debut.
"I'm disappointed in the result and the way we played overall," he said. "I felt we were not sharp in the attacking half. Our plays kept breaking down because we couldn't connect our passes."
Cummings' goal came 10 minutes into the second half when Colorado midfielder Colin Clark made a run at the Chivas USA defense.
Clark beat Chivas right back Mariano Trujillo and fed the ball inside to Cummings, who turned and curled a shot just inside the right post.
Cummings is known for his speed of foot, but it was his speed of thought that brought him the goal.
"On that play we did not close him down fast enough, soon enough," Vasquez said. "When Michael Umana went to block the shot, the shot went under his leg. It was a very good goal."
Chivas led, 12-7, in shots, including 3-2 in those on target, but failed to find a way to score. Osael Romero, the El Salvador national team player acquired to spark the offense, had a quiet game.
Bob Bradley, the U.S. national team coach, was on hand, no doubt keeping tabs on the four players who might figure in his World Cup plans: Chivas USA defender Jonathan Bornstein and midfielder Sacha Kljestan and Colorado forward Conor Casey and defender Marvell Wynne.
Of the four, Wynne had the most solid performance, which was odd for two reasons. First, he had joined the Rapids only 24 hours earlier, after he was traded from Toronto FC. He barely knew his teammates' names. Second, he was used at center back rather than his usual position of right back. But it was Wynne who broke up Chivas USA's most threatening offensive move in the first half, and his defending was solid throughout.
Bornstein said before the game that marking Casey would be a handful, especially since Bornstein is 45 pounds lighter and four inches shorter.
"He's definitely somebody to be reckoned with; he's a big body up there," Bornstein said. "He's going to score goals. … You've got to keep him in front of you and don't let him turn."
As it turned out, the danger didn't come from Casey, but from Cummings.