Shalrie Joseph pleads his case with referee Chris Penso during Chivas USA's… (Victor Decolongon / Getty…)
Here's how bad things have gotten for Chivas USA: Even Coach Robin Fraser couldn't watch all of his team's 2-0 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.
But he had an excuse: Referee Chris Penso ejected him at halftime. Those in the announced crowd of 11,317 at the Home Depot Center weren't so lucky.
If it's any consolation, Fraser didn't miss much, with Chivas playing listlessly through most of the second half to extend its winless streak to seven games.
That dropped the team into a tie with Portland for last place in the Western Conference, nine points shy of the conference's fifth and final playoff berth with seven games left. A month ago, Chivas was trying to find a way back to the postseason for the first time in three years. Now it's just hoping to stave off elimination for a few more weeks.
But at least Fraser showed he still had some fight left when, late in the first half, Chivas defender John Valencia was called for a foul after he elbowed San Jose's Alan Gordon in the back in the penalty area. Replays showed the officials made the right call, but Fraser was livid, largely because the foul was called by Alejandro Mariscal, the fourth official, who was standing on the sideline at midfield.
And Fraser's anger grew after Chris Wondolowski converted the penalty kick to give the Earthquakes a 1-0 lead. Gordon added the second goal just after the intermission, a break that began with Fraser and Penso having an animated discussion over the Valencia foul.
Two Chivas coaches eventually stepped between the men and led Fraser to the locker room. He never returned, leaving assistant Greg Vanney in charge of the team — and the postgame explanations as well.
"At this point, we need to win games," Vanney said as Fraser remained in his office. "And tonight was a frustrating one.
"We're all frustrated in a lot of ways."