Roundup for MLS in Week 15
a stretch of 11 games without victory -- as they unleashed all of their frustration in a 5-1 victory against fellow expansion club Real Salt Lake. The Wizards and Earthquakes, meanwhile, won league games in places where they hadn't won since the 1996 season -- Kansas City knocking off D.C. United 1-0 at RFK Stadium and San Jose defeating the Columbus Crew 2-1.
Also Saturday, the Chicago Fire took over sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference with a 1-0 victory against the New England Revolution at Soldier Field -- just the second loss of the year for the Revs -- and the MetroStars continued the road woes for the Los Angeles Galaxy with a 2-1 victory at Giants Stadium.
At The Home Depot Center, Chivas USA had won just once in their first season -- also against Real Salt Lake -- in their first 17 games, but a lot of that frustration was shaken off on a night where they matched the league-high in goals in a game this season.
Chivas opened the lead after just five minutes through an unfortunate own goal. Matt Taylor latched onto a clearance and drove a low cross back into a crowded goalmouth where it deflected off Brian Kamler's leg into the goal. Then Chivas doubled their lead barely after a quarter-hour was gone, Thiago Martins pulled back in the box by Real defender Cameron Knolwes and Hector Cuadros converting the resulting penalty (17).
Real pulled a goal back midway through the first half, as Clint Mathis hammered a low free kick past the wall and off the inside of the left-hand post of Chivas 'keeper Brad Guzan and into the goal (23).
But Chivas hit for two goals in three minutes shortly after the restart to seal the match. Cuadros found Martinez with a terrific pass as Chivas quickly swung the play from right to left, and after he skipped into the area unmolested he beat Countess on an angled shot from inside the area (53). Then two minutes later the highly influential Taylor found the back of the net, working a give-and-go with Cuadros to perfection, collecting a neat backheel before knocking home a close-range shot.
Isaac Romo rounded out the scoreline in the 84th minute. Taylor intercepted a clearance and slipped a pass between a defender's legs to the substitute, who coolly sent a hard shot from close range past Countess.
At RFK Stadium, the Kansas City Wizards hadn't won a league match in Washington since Aug. 4, 1996 -- though of course they did win MLS Cup 2000 at the ground.
It was a classic smash-and-grab mission for the Wizards, who soaked up pressure throughout the match before capitalizing on a United mistake 13 minutes from the end. Sasha Victorine picked off a pass and was allowed time and space to run at the United defense, but letting fly with a low shot from just outside the area that escaped the dive of Nick Rimando.
In Columbus, the Earthquakes had never won a league game in Crew Stadium, and hadn't beaten the Crew on their own ground in a regular-season contest since July 20, 1996. They did win MLS Cup 2001 at Crew Stadium -- where they beat arch-rival Los Angeles Galaxy, along the way defeating the Crew in Columbus in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Center back Chad Marshall gave an early sign the streak might be continued, heading home a corner kick after 19 minutes for his first career MLS goal. He beat Eddie Robinson to reach David Testo's service and saw his header come down off the underside of the crossbar and spin back out onto the field, but it was adjudged to have crossed the line.
But just 11 minutes later the Quakes pulled level through Robinson, who shook off Marshall to reach a Ronald Cerritos free kick whipped in from the left corner and head home the equalizer.
Cerritos then scored the match-winner just after the hour. Ricardo Clark and Alejandro Moreno played a neat one-two, Clark rounding the defense at the byeline before laying a pass back for Cerritos who sent a first-time shot home from the heart of the area (63).
At Soldier Field, the Fire made a statement by taking over the top spot in the Eastern Conference by three points, though the Revolution have three matches in hand. Both teams were missing about half of their first-choice lineups through national team duty and injury.
Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis stood tall, but was unable to keep out the game's only goal just before the hour. A corner came in from the left and defender C.J. Brown dove to head it back into the mixer. Rookie defender Gonzalo Segares controlled it, skipped around a defender and hammered a drive past the diving Reis and a pair of New England defenders standing on the line. It was an MLS-record 11th consecutive game the Fire had scored the opening goal in a match.
Three minutes later the Fire won a penalty kick as Justin Mapp was hacked down by Revolution defender Marshall Leonard. But Reis went to full stretch to turn aside Lubos Reiter's spot kick, yet New England wasn't able to ever find the equalizer. Fire 'keeper Zach Thornton was called upon to make just one save on the night, tipping a Connolly Edozien header off the bar in the 89th minute.
At Giants Stadium, the Los Angeles Galaxy remained winless away from The Home Depot Center for the season -- and since June 27 of a year ago, a span of 15 matches -- while the MetroStars held on to a late lead after a recent spell of seeing results slip away.
The MetroStars took the lead after just 14 minutes when Amado Guevara converted from the penalty spot after Ugo Ihemelu bundled over Ante Razov from behind as he raced to latch onto a ball played over the top of the Galaxy defense.
But four minutes after the break, the Galaxy pulled level despite starting a team decimated by international duty and injury. Herculez Gomez collected a pass on the right flank and from a tight angle hit a wicked dipping ball that surprised Metro 'keeper Zach Wells and hit off the inside of the far post and into the goal.
Yet at the three-quarter mark, the Metros again pulled ahead. Eddie Gaven found Guevara at the top of the restraining arc, and he scooped the ball over the static Galaxy defenders back to Gaven, whose initial header was saved. But Hartman spilled the rebound, and Gaven knocked it home from close range.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.