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Dynamo goes through Chivas USA's defense as if it isn't even there

Back line gives up two early goals in 2-0 loss to Houston to end Chivas' three-game unbeaten streak.

May 08, 2010|By Grahame L. Jones

In the lead-up to its game Saturday night, Chivas USA made much of the fact that its players would be wearing camouflage jerseys in honor of the U.S. armed forces.

The jerseys obviously worked because the team's defense was invisible.

The back line gave up two goals in the first 7 minutes 2 seconds en route to a 2-0 loss to the Houston Dynamo that ended a three-game unbeaten run and kept Chivas in third place in Major League Soccer's Western Conference.

"I don't want to blame it on the two games this week, but I felt that we came out flat," Chivas USA Coach Martin Vasquez said.

Brad Davis put Houston ahead after a mere 3:32.

The move began at midfield when Chivas rookie Blair Gavin's errant pass was intercepted by Houston defender Craig Waibel. He tapped the ball to Brian Mullan on the right sideline and Mullan sent a long downfield pass over everyone and bouncing toward the Chivas penalty area.

Davis sprinted between defenders Dario Delgado and Michael Umana and stuck out a leg to deflect the ball up and over goalkeeper Zach Thornton, who had come off his line to try to deal with the threat.

The ball dropped into the net behind the stranded keeper and Davis wheeled away in delight, arms outstretched.

"I think there was miscommunication between our two center backs and Zach," Vasquez said.

Having taken the lead, Houston quickly set out to take control of the game by doubling its advantage.

Davis was again involved. He sent a corner kick in from the left and Canadian international defender Adrian Serioux powered his way through the flat-footed Chivas defense and headed the ball sharply into the net.

The Home Depot Center clock showed 7:02.

Vasquez's face showed a mix of disappointment and anger. He said U.S. national team defender Jonathan Bornstein had been responsible for marking Serioux.

"But they did a pick [with Waibel screening Bornstein] and we were not able to change men on the fly and [Serioux] was solid on the header," Vasquez said.

Vasquez's team should have been prepared for a fast start by the Dynamo. In Houston three weeks ago, Chivas USA surrendered two goals in the first 20 minutes en route to a 3-0 loss. This time it was supposed to offer stiffer resistance.

"They're a difficult team to play against," Vasquez said. "The only chance you have to beat them is if you're solid defensively."

With the game already in the bag, Houston's only other objective was to give goalkeeper Pat Onstad a shutout. The 42-year-old Canadian veteran Saturday became the oldest player to play in an MLS game, surpassing former Chivas USA coach Preki.

Onstad got his shutout, as Chivas obliged him to make only two saves.

The closest Chivas came to scoring was in the 89th minute, when a tidy exchange of passes between Bornstein and Sacha Kljestan set up a shooting opportunity for rookie Ben Zemanski, but he blasted his shot over the crossbar.

Kljestan sent a fierce shot just wide of the right post in injury time, but other than that Chivas offered little on offense.

One other mark was set Saturday as Kljestan became Chivas USA's all-time appearance leader by playing in his 112th MLS match.

grahame.jones@latimes.com

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