Chivas USA postscript: Coach Robin Fraser loses the opener but gains a team
Chivas USA Coach Robin Fraser has had a couple of days to reflect on Saturday night's 3-2 season-opening loss to Sporting Kansas City at Home Depot Center and, being a wise soul, Fraser will have realized that the glass is half full not half empty.
Yes, Chivas USA gave up a goal in the first two minutes of the season. Yes, it yielded a second goal at the very end of the first half to trail, 2-0.
But if it lost the first half, Chivas USA definitely won the second, scoring two goals while allowing only one. At times it had Sporting pinned back in its own half and worried.
"I thought it was difficult for them to handle us as we came forward in waves," Fraser said. "I would like to have seen us have a little bit more of a killer instinct in the final third, but I think that's coming as well."
The comeback was impressive, even if the cohesion on a Chivas team that has only been together a few weeks was lacking.
The fact that the players showed a willingness to fight back bodes well for the future and for their belief in their coach.
Particularly encouraging was the way Argentine forward Marcos Mondaini immediately adapted to Major League Soccer, looking comfortable in his debut game.
"I think you see that he's an intelligent, crafty, quick player who has been in a number of big games, and I felt like for his first MLS game he was completely unfazed and was a really productive part of our attack," Fraser said.
The two months leading up to the opener were a time of experimentation, with players coming and going and a new system being installed. It showed, but that is not a negative.
"I think we’re still in the process of finding our identity, finding out who we are," Fraser said. "I think sometimes when your back is against the wall and you’ve got nowhere else to go and you can't look anywhere else, you have to look at yourself. . . . I was proud of the response."
As for his debut as an MLS head coach after four years as an assistant with Real Salt Lake, Fraser had this to say:
"It is a little bit different. I feel a big responsibility to our fans. Everyone wants results yesterday, me included. I think as an assistant coach you really focus so much more just on the play. And as head coach you think about all the other things that come in to play.
"Chivas fans are starving for something really good and I think we're on the verge of it."
--Grahame L. Jones
Photo: Chivas USA defender Jimmy Conrad celebrates after scoring in the second half against Sporting Kansas City in the team's season opener. Credit: Victor Decolongon / Getty Images