Herculez! Herculez! L.A. tops Chivas USA
Even though the Super Clasico is only three games old, it's abundantly clear that the Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA don't like each other. After a handful of yellow cards and a number of fouls, it was the Galaxy who came away with a 2-0 win thanks to a pair of goals by Herculez Gomez on Saturday night at The Home Depot Center, snapping a six-game winless streak.
The game started off as a chippy affair, with both sides taking advantage of every opportunity to clip one another. Even the coaches got into it on the sideline: Hans Westerhof and Steve Sampson jawing after a hard collision between Galaxy defender Ugo Ihemelu and Chivas forward Antonio Martinez.
Between the hostilities, the two sides cancelled each other out for long stretches of the opening half. Surprisingly enough though, it was Chivas who seemed to be the more effective in going forward.
Galaxy 'keeper Kevin Hartman was forced to make a few saves in the half, his best coming in the 22nd minute. Thiago Martins worked himself free in the area and won a header inside the penalty area. His effort was directed down and on target, but Hartman made the save look rather routine.
Chivas nearly found the mark again in the 36th minute, when Hartman made a mistake on a corner kick. Coming off his line, he managed only a weak punch after being impeded by a slew of players, and Isaac Romo collected the loose ball in the penalty area and tried a quick turn around shot with Hartman out of his net. The shot sailed wide, and Chivas didn't make a real threat to the Galaxy goal again in the half.
Hartman's counterpart in the Chivas net, Brad Guzan, only had to make one save in the first half as the Galaxy never really looked that dangerous. The lack of any real offensive spark prompted Sampson to make a pair of changes to start the second half. Cobi Jones, who surprisingly didn't start the game, came on for Jovan Kirovski, and Chris Albright returned to action for the Green and Gold after a long spell on the injured list.
Despite the changes, the second half started in much the same way as the first. Esteban Arias picked up a yellow card of his own after a reckless tackle from behind on Pando, and again it was Chivas who looked for dangerous to open the half.
In the 52nd minute, Chivas fans thought their side had broken open the scoring when Romo tapped home a cross. But unfortunately for the "away" side, Ezra Hendrickson, the man who crossed the ball in, was well offside on the play, and the goal was disallowed.
Gomez capped the substitutions for Sampson in the 61st minute, coming on for Pete Vagenas, who wasn't at 100 percent, still recovering from a thigh injury. The substitution proved to be brilliant just three minutes later when Gomez ripped a 25-yard shot off the inside of the right post and into the back of net to open the scoring.
Antonio Martinez nearly tied the game for Chivas in the 74th minute with a shot from just outside the box. While his effort was well struck, it wasn't on target, sailing just wide of the post.
As the game opened up with Chivas looking for the equalizer, the Galaxy started to generate more offense, all from the feet of super-sub Gomez. First, Gomez sprinted free on a breakaway that generated near the center circle, but with defenders bearing down on him, he only managed to hit the side netting with his shot.
Then, just minutes later, Gomez supplied a fantastic ball from the right side that rolled through the penalty area. Naldo da Conceicao ran onto the cross, but couldn't corral his first touch, and shot the ball wide of an empty net.
Chivas created a lot of chaos in the Galaxy penalty area over the last several minutes, but were unable to put anything on target, and in the end it was the Galaxy who got the second goal of the night, again from Gomez.
Naldo picked up a ball tackled away by Jones in midfield and quickly turned and sprung Gomez on another breakaway in second-half stoppage time. This time Gomez made no mistake, slotting his second goal past Guzan into the side netting from just outside the penalty area, sealing the Galaxy's third victory in three games against their Los Angeles counterparts.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Herculez Gomez (Los Angeles Galaxy)
Greg Daurio 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.