Recap: Chivas keep playoff hopes alive in 3-0 win vs. TFC

Chivas celebrate a Juan Pablo Angel goal

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CARSON, Calif. — Juan Pablo Ángel continued his torrid scoring pace, bagging two goals and keeping Chivas USA’s faint playoff hopes alive in a 3-0 victory over Toronto FC at the Home Depot Center Saturday night.

Ángel’s brace halted Toronto FC’s two-game winning streak and gives the Colombian five goals in his last three games for a total of six since he joined Chivas USA on August 17th. The victory gives Chivas USA their first win at home since a 3-0 victory on July 23 while Toronto FC finish the season winless in the Pacific Time Zone.

The victory pushed Chivas USA (8-12-11) to 35 points — only four back of the New York Red Bulls, who defeated the Portland Timbers earlier in the night. Toronto (6-13-12) remain at 30 points and will likely turn their focus to trying to advance in the CONCACAF Champions League now that the playoffs appear to be out of the question.

In the 12th minute, Chivas USA opened the scoring when they caught TFC on a counter attack as Justin Braun found a streaking Ante Jazic, who crossed into the box to a waiting Ángel. The Colombian’s header was tipped by Stefan Frei, but rolled past the prone goalkeeper and into the net. 

At the outset of the second half Toronto FC appeared livelier, pushing towards goal as they looked to equalize. Three minutes into the stanza defender Richard Eckersely nearly tied the match as he rattled the crossbar with a shot from distance.

Just six minutes later, Danny Koevermans gave Toronto their finest chance of the night when he found himself alone in the box, but the big Dutchman fired directly at Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy. It was a disappointing night for Koevermans, who had been in scintillating form coming into the match but ended up squandering several good looks.

Chivas USA put an end to Toronto’s momentum when they doubled their lead in the 71st minute of play. Michael Umaña tracked down a wayward ball and fired a cross to Braun, who got inside Ashtone Morgan and beat Frei near post.

The Rojiblancos were able to put the game on ice in the 77th minute when Ángel scored his second after Ben Zemanski unlocked the Toronto defense with a through ball. The Colombian beat his defender and sent a lash from the edge of the box that beat Frei.

Although he allowed three goals, it was Frei who kept Toronto in the match, producing six saves on the night.

The Rojiblancos return to action on October 2 when they host the Philadelphia Union, another team trying to keep their playoff aspirations alive.

Meanwhile, Toronto FC face a must win match in the CONCACAF Champions League on Tuesday, September 27, when they host Pumas UNAM. They then return to MLS action on October 1 when they host the Red Bulls.

Scoring Summary:
CHV -- Juan Pablo Angel 8 (Ante Jazic 7, Justin Braun 5) 12
CHV -- Justin Braun 8 (Michael Umana 1) 71
CHV -- Juan Pablo Angel 9 (Ben Zemanski 4, Marcos Mondaini 1) 77 

Toronto FC -- Stefan Frei, Richard Eckersley, Ty Harden, Andy Iro, Ashtone Morgan, Julian de Guzman (Terry Dunfield 46), Eric Avila, Torsten Frings, Nick Soolsma, Danny Koevermans (Danleigh Borman 84), Ryan Johnson (Peri Marosevic 73).
Substitutes Not Used: Doneil Henry, Matt Stinson, Mikael Yourassowsky, Milos Kocic.

Chivas USA -- Dan Kennedy, Michael Umana, Andrew Boyens, David Junior Lopes, Ante Jazic, Justin Braun (Michael Lahoud 78), Nick LaBrocca, Ben Zemanski, Laurent Courtois (Marcos Mondaini 64), Juan Pablo Angel, Alejandro Moreno.
Substitutes Not Used: Simon Elliott, Jorge Flores, Blair Gavin, Zarek Valentin, Zach Thornton.

Misconduct Summary:
TOR -- Ashtone Morgan (caution; Reckless Tackle) 8
TOR -- Richard Eckersley (caution; Tactical Foul) 27
TOR -- Andy Iro (caution; Tactical Foul) 43 
CHV -- Ben Zemanski (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 54 

Referee: Kevin Stott
Referee's Assistants: Brian Poeschel; Jason Cullum
4th Official: Geoff Gamble
Time of Game: 1:52
Weather: Cloudy and 65 degrees 
Attendance: 14,357