Chivas USA hang in, but not long enough
No matter how much ground Chivas USA gained in the past week, the Los Angeles Galaxy showed that the expansion club has much to learn after handing Chivas USA a 2-0 loss in the third edition of Major League Soccer's Super Clasico on Saturday at The Home Depot Center on Saturday.
Herculez Gomez scored twice, though the final goal came with just seconds remaining in the third of three minutes of injury time.
Chivas USA won a week ago 5-1 against Real Salt Lake and won their U.S. Open Cup match Wednesday against United Soccer League's Charlotte Eagles 3-2 in extra time.
Chivas was without Ramon Ramirez, who served a one-game suspension on yellow-card accumulation. Thiago Martins slid in the midfield as Chivas went with a strike force of Antonio Martinez, Isaac Romo and Matt Taylor.
Martins had the first Chivas opportunity but his 15-yard shot went off the side of his foot and sailed well wide of the goal.
Tempers flared in the 19th minute when Jovan Kirovski nailed Chivas defender Armando Begines with an elbow right to the Mexican's face. Kirovski was booked and Chivas ended up with a shot on the ensuing possession, though defender Esteban Arias' shot went well wide.
On 22 minutes, Martins hit a much better shot on goal. His header from 10 yards out forced Galaxy keeper Kevin Hartman to make a diving save.
Martins continued to show his danger from the midfield when he won a 27-yard free kick in the 24th minute. Martins, who along with Ezra Hendrickson has started every game for the Red-and-White, was fouled by Galaxy midfielder Guillermo Ramirez. But the Galaxy wiped out the Chivas set piece as the designed play went nowhere.
Romo nearly put Chivas on the scoreboard in the 36th minute. Off a Chivas corner kick, Hendrickson headed the ball on goal but the ball bounced to the left of the penalty spot. With Hartman charging at him, Romo spun and fired a shot on goal but the ball sailed just wide.
Antonio Martinez collided with Galaxy defender Ugo Ihemelu near midfield. As the players laid on the field, Chivas coach Hans Westerhof motioned to Galaxy coach Steve Sampson and waved his finger at his counterpart.
Chivas players were booked on either side of halftime. In the 45th minute, Martins was booked after knocking down Galaxy forward Naldo as the two fought for position on a Galaxy corner kick. Arias was booked three minutes into the second half after tackling Ramirez from behind.
With the Galaxy defense scrambling, Chivas USA's Martinez nearly put the Red-and-White on the scoreboard in the 51st minute. Martins dribbled past Ihemelu in the area and centered the ball, which bounced to the top of the area. Cobi Jones tried to clear the ball but it sailed to Martinez's feet and he missed the small opening he had on goal.
Two minutes later, Chivas had a goal disallowed. Taylor backheeled a pass to Hendrickson, who slid the ball to Romo, but as Romo buried the ball in the back of the net, the referee's assistant flagged as Hendrickson received the ball in an offside position.
The Galaxy finally broke open the scoreless tie with a long-range shot in the 64th minute. As Paulo Nagamura tried to get past Chivas USA's Jesus Ochoa, Gomez eventually ended up with the ball at his feet and quickly fired on goal. The ball just got past Guzan's fingers.
In the 69th minute, Westerhof went to a more attacking formation, taking out center back Francisco Gomez in favor of frontrunner Hector Cuadros, who floated between the midfield and the front line.
Martinez nearly pulled the goal back for Chivas but his 22-yard blast missed the right post by inches in the 74th minute.
Chivas' Milton Blanco made his debut in the 82nd minute when he came on for Ochoa. Three minutes later, Arturo Torres came on for Taylor in an effort to spark some offense and interject speed in the dying minutes of the match.
Chivas could not put a clear shot on goal in the final minutes of the match, however. With the Galaxy simply clearing balls from their own third, Chivas had plenty of opportunity to string together possession.
With Chivas looking for a desperate goal late in the match, Jones won a tackle in midfield, the ball going to Naldo, and he turned and sent Gomez in all alone, He dribbled some 30 yards by himself before beating Guzan from just outside the area.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Herculez Gomez (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.
Chivas USA (2-13-3) vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (7-6-4)
July 16, 2005 -- The Home Depot Center
LA -- Herculez Gomez 2 (Paulo Nagamura 2) 64
LA -- Herculez Gomez 3 (Ednaldo da Conceicao 3, Cobi Jones 4) 93+
Chivas USA -- Brad Guzan, Esteban Arias, Armando Begines, Francisco Gomez (Hector Cuadros 70), Ezra Hendrickson, Jesus Ochoa (Milton Blanco 82), Thiago Martins, Francisco Mendoza, Matt Taylor (Arturo Torres 85), Isaac Romo, Antonio Martinez.
Substitutes Not Used: Javier Barragan, Orlando Perez.
TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Francisco Mendoza 3, Isaac Romo 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (5 tied with 1); FOULS: 15 (Esteban Arias 5); OFFSIDES: 3 (Matt Taylor 2); CORNER KICKS: 5 (Antonio Martinez 3); SAVES: 4 (Brad Guzan 4)
Los Angeles Galaxy -- Kevin Hartman, Troy Roberts, Pablo Chinchilla (Chris Albright 46), Ugo Ihemelu, Todd Dunivant, Michael Enfield, Paulo Nagamura, Peter Vagenas (Herculez Gomez 61), Guillermo Ramirez, Jovan Kirovski (Cobi Jones 46), Ednaldo da Conceicao.
Substitutes Not Used: Mubarike Chisoni, Steve Cronin, Josh Gardner, Alan Gordon, Ned Grabavoy, Joseph Ngwenya.
TOTAL SHOTS: 12 (Herculez Gomez 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Herculez Gomez 2, Guillermo Ramirez 2); FOULS: 13 (4 tied with 2); OFFSIDES: 4 (Ednaldo da Conceicao 2); CORNER KICKS: 3 (Jovan Kirovski 2); SAVES: 5 (Kevin Hartman 5)
LA -- Jovan Kirovski (caution; Reckless Foul) 19
CHV -- Thiago Martins (caution; Pushing, Holding) 44
CHV -- Esteban Arias (caution; Tackle from Behind) 48
Referee: Brian Hall
Referee's Assistants: Craig Lowry; Thomas Supple
4th Official: Baldomero Toledo
All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.