the second goalkeeper in as many games making his first MLS start while playing for the Crew, who have four goalkeepers on the shelf with injuries -- the match remained scoreless for 75 minutes. Then Columbus won a free kick nearly straight out from goal which Jacob Thomas blasted over the dive of FCD 'keeper Dario Sala, only for it to come back off the face of the crossbar. But Leonard Bisaku was quickest to the rebound and headed it into the unguarded goal for his first MLS goal.
Then in the 89th minute Ritchie Kotschau doubled the Crew lead with a remarkable goal. Gathering a seemingly harmless pass near midfield, he scampered past four FC Dallas defenders to the heart the penalty area where he drove a high shot over Sala.
Carlos Ruiz pulled back a goal for the Hoops in the first minute of stoppage time, setting an FC Dallas club record in the process, scoring in his sixth consecutive contest. It was a classic Ruiz goal, receiving the ball with his back to goal on the edge of the box, spinning around his defender and hitting the lower left-hand corner of Palmer's net, but his seventh goal on the campaign wasn't enough to pull the Hoops all the way back.
FC Dallas head coach Colin Clarke made no changes to the team that defeated the New York Red Bulls 2-1 10 days earlier at Giants Stadium.
Here's Clarke's team (4-4-2): Dario Sala - Bobby Rhine, Drew Moor, Greg Vanney, Chris Gbandi - Ronnie O'Brien, Richard Mulrooney, Simo Valakari (Mark Wilson 77), Ramon Nunez (Arturo Alvarez 68) - Kenny Cooper (Roberto Mina 68), Carlos Ruiz. [Substitutes Not Used: Ray Burse, Clarence Goodson, Aaron Pitchkolan, David Wagenfuhr]
"It wasn't good. It's disappointing to lose our (home) unbeaten record the way we did, but fair play to them," Clarke said. "They came out in the first half and pushed high on us and stopped our fullbacks from getting (the ball) and we didn't do a good job of dealing with that."
For the Hoops, it was their first loss at Pizza Hut Park since a 2-1 reversal by D.C. United on Sept. 10, 2005. After going winless in the first five league games in the stadium (with three losses), FCD won three of their final five games (with two draws) in league play last year, before starting their home campaign this year unbeaten.
"We take pride in making this place a fortress, and unfortunately for the second game in a row we didn't come out sharp from the start," said defender Drew Moor. "Our passing was bad, our movement was bad, we didn't defend well as a team and that finally caught up with us tonight. It happens sometimes and you just have to learn from your mistakes and not let them happen again."
The club's four-game unbeaten streak also ended - as did a two-game winning streak, both wins coming against Eastern Conference opposition. "Maybe we got a little content after the last two games," midfielder Richard Mulrooney said. "Give them credit. They came in here and took it to us."
The Hoops felt they should have been down at halftime, but still came into the break scoreless.
"We knew that we had to go out and do a better job than we did in the first half," Clarke said. "We couldn't get close to anybody, we couldn't get the ball. When we did we weren't running off the ball. We just weren't good in the first half. (In the second half) we played better but missed chances and then they got the goal."
Still, Ruiz's goal gave him a club record with a goal in six consecutive games and kept him tied for the MLS Golden Boot after the weekend, along with Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo) and Jaime Moreno (D.C. United).
Chivas USA extended the longest winning streak in club history to three games, defeating arch-rivals Los Angeles Galaxy for the first time ever, holding on for a 2-1 victory Thursday night at The Home Depot Center. Chivas USA moved into fourth place with the victory, now with 13 points from nine matches, two ahead Real Salt Lake and fully six points ahead of the Galaxy.
Chivas USA had won back-to-back games for the first time in club history, while the Galaxy came in riding a six-game losing streak - also a club record - and hadn't won a home game on the season (their one win in '06 at The Home Depot Center came as the "visitors" in the first Super Clasico of the season).
With the Galaxy wearing yellow and blue, instead of their usual green and gold, mimicking CD Guadajalara's hated rivals Club América, it didn't take long for Chivas USA to strike in Frank Yallop's debut in charge of the Galaxy, Ante Razov scoring twice in the opening 21 minutes.
In the 16th minute, Francisco Mendoza drove in a curling cross from the left corner and Razov met it near the penalty spot with a full-blooded volley that sailed over Galaxy 'keeper Kevin Hartman and into the roof of the goal.
Then five minutes he doubled the Chivas lead with another clinical finish. This time Juan Francisco Palencia's sublime pass with the outside of his foot found Sacha Kljestan, who hit Razov outside the area. Razov side-footed a rolling shot inside Hartman's right-hand post for his league-leading eighth goal of the campaign.
It took the Galaxy just six minutes to pull a goal back. A disjointed free kick outside the area was corralled by Herculez Gomez, who set off on a dribbling run across the field. He hit a rolling shot from 25 yards that slipped past Chivas 'keeper Preston Burpo and inside the right post.
But despite near-complete domination over the final 45 minutes, the Galaxy couldn't find a second goal and Chivas held on for their first victory in seven meetings all-time in all competitions.
Chivas USA head coach Bob Bradley didn't make any changes to the team that defeated the Colorado Rapids 4-1 at The Home Depot Center the previous weekend.
Here's Bradley's team (4-4-2): Preston Burpo - Lawson Vaughn, Jason Hernandez, Tim Regan, Jonathan Bornstein - Juan Pablo Garcia, Sacha Kljestan, Jesse Marsch (Orlando Perez 77), Francisco Mendoza - Juan Francisco Palencia, Ante Razov. [Substitutes Not Used: Esteban Arias, Brad Guzan, Carlos Llamosa, Rodrigo Lopez, Estuardo Sanchez, Matt Taylor]
"The bottom line was, as an organization we needed this win," Bradley said. "That's probably the most important part of the night for us."
Chivas USA's third consecutive victory followed a similar pattern as the previous two. In wins against Chicago (1-0) and Colorado (4-1), Chivas scored first and held off their opponents with strong defending and timely goalkeeping.
"The first game in this winning streak, we're up 1-0 the first minute and we held on for 90 minutes," goalkeeper Preston Burpo said. "The second game, we got some goals late and held on. That was good. This week, we scraped it out again."
In the end, the game was a must-win for Chivas. With the Galaxy mired in a losing streak and Chivas coming off two consecutive wins, the deck was stacked for a Chivas victory. "There would not have been any kind of excuses had we not gotten three points," Bradley said. "We're pleased with the effort. We're pleased with getting that one off our backs for a while."
The defense held a lead for the fourth time in five games at The Home Depot Center in which Chivas has scored first. Burpo also solidified his position as No. 1 goalkeeper.
"It's fantastic for the fans, for the owners, the front office staff and the players," Chivas defender Tim Regan said. "Everybody wanted this really bad and we tried to step up our level. Luckily we came out on top and it's the start of a new streak."
Razov dedicated the victory - and his two goals - to his grandfather, who passed away last weekend in Croatia at age 85. He was especially touched by the first goal, a stunning full volley from a Mendoza cross.
"Panchito hit a great ball in. I swear, I think my grandpa was watching me tonight, and that was all him. Those are not easy to hit, and you rarely connect like that," Razov said. "I think that was a little gift from him to me to let me know he was watching."
Said Bradley: "When you see goals like that, you get excited. An incredible finish on the first one. You love to see your team put together some really good soccer and two goals like that I think get everybody excited."
Still, as important as the victory was, some players looked a bit more practically at the three points. "It's damned important. If we don't win this game, we are 3-5-1 going into Dallas, who is the best team in the conference right now," Burpo said. "It takes a little bit of pressure going in there. Obviously we still want to win but if you're 4-4-1 instead of 3-5-1 going into the game, that's a big difference."