Chivas USA earned its first points of the season on Saturday afternoon, earning at 2-0 victory over the visiting New York Red Bulls at The Home Depot Center.
A classy second half effort from Red-and-White substitute Jesus Padilla and was the difference, as the Goats finally notched their first goals of the season and handed New York its first loss of 2010.
Padilla entered the game in the 39th minute after starting left-back Ante Jazic was carted off the field with a right knee sprain. Stepping into the left-midfield position, he hassled and harried the Red Bull defense all afternoon, causing the first goal and netting the second.
Padilla broke a scoreless deadlock just after halftime when he drilled a low shot from the 18-yard-line that Red Bulls goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul mishandled into his own net. It was an unlucky moment for the Red Bulls keeper, who had enjoyed 227 minutes of shutout soccer up until that point.
Padilla added a breakaway goal in the 90th minute to ensure the win.
For Chivas USA, Saturday’s match was one marked by a renewed sense of urgency in the attacking third of the field. Gone were the missed opportunities and sputtering offense of the first two games. Instead, The Home Depot Center crowd was treated to a more fluid, dynamic attack from Martín Vásquez’s men.
Team captain Sacha Kljestan was the engine for most of it, providing countless passes through central midfield for his strikers and linking well with surprise left-midfielder Jonathan Bornstein. The arrival of new signing Darío Delgado in central defense had pushed Bornstein forward, and the California native took full advantage of his new offensive freedom for a few good chances on Coundoul’s net.
While the Goats seemed to have the better of the first half, New York was not without its chances. It was Macoumba Kandji who came closest, finding himself on the end of a corner-kick on the Chivas USA six-yard-line in the 18th minute. He tapped toward net, but his effort was cleared off the line by Michael Umaña.
Chivas USA will now prepare for its first road trip of the season, a visit to Houston on April 17th. The Red Bulls will look to rebound against FC Dallas in New York the same day.