Chivas USA can't solve L.A. neighbor

Chivas USA's losing ways continued Saturday as the club's attack sputtered and dropped the second Super Clásico by a 2-0 score to the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday at The Home Depot Center.

Pablo Chinchilla beat Martin Zuniga on a header in the 62nd minute and Peter Vagenas added a goal on a counterattack with a quarter-hour remaining. For Chivas USA it was a fourth shutout this season.

For a good portion of the match, Chivas USA was the aggressor. Francisco Mendoza and Isaac Romo proved dangerous but could not beat Galaxy 'keeper Kevin Hartman. The club's defense held firm for most of the match, though Galaxy striker Jovan Kirovski found space on several occasions and proved dangerous as the club's primary playmaker.

Mendoza provided Chivas USA its first clear scoring chance. In the ninth minute, Mendoza darted into the penalty area and fired a 10-yard shot on goal but Hartman did well to stop the low, hard shot. Three minutes later, Hector Cuadros sent a booming cross from the right wing but Hartman plucked it out of the air without hesitation.

Zuniga was tested for the first time in the 12th minute. Kirovski broke in alone on net and tried to chip a shot over Zuniga but the veteran 'keeper deflected the shot and Chivas USA eventually cleared it out of harm's way.

There was also no shortage of physical play. In the first quarter-hour, Tyrone Marshall leveled Mendoza as the 20-year-old chased a ball toward the right sideline. Ryan Suarez dinged his head with the Galaxy's Paulo Nagamura later and Zuniga collided with Cobi Jones as both went after a ball 20 yards out. Also, after a 29th-minute free kick, Orlando Perez knocked down Marshall -- but every incident came and went without a yellow card.

Romo nearly punished the Galaxy but could not put away a close-range shot. In the 32nd minute, Thiago Martins stole a ball from Ugo Ihemelu and sent a ball into space for Mendoza, who raced down the left flank. Mendoza sent a cross into the area and Romo one-touched it and shot the ball as he fell to his left side. The ball beat Hartman but sailed just wide of the far post.

Mendoza had the club's best shot on goal in the opening 45 minutes. Martins fed Mendoza at the top of the area and he ripped a point-blank shot on goal but Hartman coolly stopped the shot.

In the second half, neither team took the initiative as neither club tested their opposing 'keeper. However, Galaxy defender Chinchilla broke through in the 62nd minute. The Costa Rican international powered a header past Zuniga after a Galaxy corner kick. Zuniga got right hand on the ball but could not stop it from going into the net.

Two minutes later, Ramon Ramirez fired a 22-yard free kick just high of the net as Chivas USA tried to get a quick equalizer.

Vagenas sealed the match for the Galaxy in the 76th minute. With Chivas USA pushing up for an equalizer, Kirovski scooped up a loose ball near midfield, carried it into the area and laid off a pass to the center of the area. Vagenas charged in unmarked and slipped a shot past Zuniga.

After the goal, Chivas USA succumbed to the Galaxy's stifling defense as the Green-and-Gold finished the game with six defenders on the pitch.

MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Jovan Kirovski (Los Angeles Galaxy)

Luis Bueno is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.

Los Angeles Galaxy (6-2-1) vs. CD Chivas USA (1-8-1)

May 28, 2005 -- The Home Depot Center

Scoring Summary:

LA -- Pablo Chinchilla 1 (Jovan Kirovski 3) 62

LA -- Peter Vagenas 4 (Jovan Kirovski 4) 76

Los Angeles Galaxy -- Kevin Hartman, Ugo Ihemelu, Pablo Chinchilla, Tyrone Marshall, Todd Dunivant, Cobi Jones (Michael Umana 84), Paulo Nagamura, Peter Vagenas, Guillermo Ramirez (Paul Broome 65), Ednaldo da Conceicao (Herculez Gomez 77), Jovan Kirovski.

Substitutes Not Used: Steve Cronin, Ned Grabavoy.

TOTAL SHOTS: 18 (Jovan Kirovski 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 9 (Jovan Kirovski 2, Paulo Nagamura 2); FOULS: 11 (Paulo Nagamura 3); OFFSIDES: 6 (Ednaldo da Conceicao 2, Cobi Jones 2); CORNER KICKS: 3 (Jovan Kirovski 3); SAVES: 5 (Kevin Hartman 5)

CD Chivas USA -- Martin Zuniga, Ezra Hendrickson, Alfonso Loera (Francisco Gomez 87), Orlando Perez (Matt Taylor 79), Douglas Sequeira, Ryan Suarez, Ramon Ramirez, Hector Cuadros (Arturo Torres 69), Isaac Romo, Thiago Martins, Francisco Mendoza.

Substitutes Not Used: Victor Arbelaez, Armando Begines, Milton Blanco, Brad Guzan, Christian Jimenez, Aaron Lopez.

TOTAL SHOTS: 12 (Francisco Mendoza 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Francisco Mendoza 4); FOULS: 15 (3 tied with 3); OFFSIDES: 1 (Isaac Romo 1); CORNER KICKS: 2 (Francisco Mendoza 1, Ramon Ramirez 1); SAVES: 7 (Martin Zuniga 7)

Misconduct Summary:

LA -- Paulo Nagamura (caution; Reckless Foul) 63

LA -- Herculez Gomez (caution; Reckless Foul) 83

Referee: Kevin Stott
Referee's Assistants: -George Vergara; George Gansner
4th Official: Colin Arblaster
Attendance: 20,916
Time of Game: 1:49
Weather: Clear-and-70-degrees

All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.


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