Chivas USA and the Los Angeles Galaxy saved the best for last. Playing Wednesday night in front of a mammoth crowd evenly dressed in Chivas red and America yellow at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the Galaxy swept the initial Super Clasico series from their in-stadium rivals and MLS rookies.
A Landon Donovan penalty kick was the only thing separating the two teams as the Galaxy claimed a 1-0 victory.
The so-called 'Night of the Super Clasicos' more than lived up to its billing on atmosphere alone. Those in attendance supported either the Galaxy or Chivas USA; the latter was supported by the red-and-white clad Chivas fans, the former by the America faithful, who had set up an impressive section filled with nothing but Americanistas. Following the MLS match, Mexican rivals CD Guadalajara and Club America played each other in a friendly.
As for the match, the clubs stood toe-to-toe as no club would yield much.
Douglas Sequeira was booked in the 43rd minute after knocking down Chris Albright some 35 yards away from goal. Guillermo "Pando" Ramirez sent the ensuing free kick just over the crossbar.
One minute later, Joseph Ngwenya had a bad first touch on a pass into the area. Had he done better with it, he might have put it away as Chivas 'keeper Brad Guzan was not covering the far post.
At halftime, Chivas USA boss Hans Westerhof took out Ezra Hendrickson and Thiago Martins and put in Alfonso Loera and Hector Cuadros in their places. The second half marked the first minutes Chivas USA had played all season without Hendrickson.
For the first 20 minutes of the second half, the Galaxy clearly dominated the half. Chivas USA players were simply clearing the ball out of their half.
Guzan came up with a huge save that kept Cobi Jones from scoring in the 53rd minute. Landon Donovan, who had come on at halftime, sprinted down the right flank. He sent a perfect cross to the top of the six-yard box. Jones' first touch was on goal, but Guzan did well to stop the shot and pounce on the rebound.
Ramon Ramirez took Donovan down just outside of the left corner of the penalty area in the 61st minute. On the ensuing free kick, Donovan cracked a shot off the wall which went out of bounds and again Chivas cleared the danger.
Jones nearly broke through again in the 66th minute but his shot from the right side of the penalty area missed the far post by inches.
Arturo Torres was booked in the 68th minute after leveling the Galaxy's Ramirez some 45 yards out. Two minutes later, Ramirez broke free down the middle of the field but put a weak shot on goal once he got inside the penalty area.
Chivas finally threatened when Orlando Perez fired a 25-yard blast on frame in the 74th minute but Galaxy 'keeper Kevin Hartman just pushed it wide.
Then in the 82nd minute, Donovan broke free into the area and was tripped up by Guzan, who had no other choice. Donovan shot to his right, Guzan dove the other way and that was all the Galaxy needed to claim a fifth victory in all competitions against Chivas this season.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Landon Donovan (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.
Los Angeles Galaxy (9-8-5) vs. Chivas USA (3-16-3)
August 10, 2005 -- Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
LA -- Landon Donovan 7 (penalty kick) 83
Los Angeles Galaxy -- Kevin Hartman, Troy Roberts (Ednaldo da Conceicao 66), Pablo Chinchilla, Michael Umana, Todd Dunivant, Chris Albright, Guillermo Ramirez, Peter Vagenas, Cobi Jones, Herculez Gomez (Jovan Kirovski 79), Joseph Ngwenya (Landon Donovan 46).
Substitutes Not Used: Steve Cronin, Ugo Ihemelu.
TOTAL SHOTS: 17 (Guillermo Ramirez 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Landon Donovan 2, Herculez Gomez 2); FOULS: 14 (5 tied with 2); OFFSIDES: 2 (Guillermo Ramirez 1, Troy Roberts 1); CORNER KICKS: 3 (3 tied with 1); SAVES: 3 (Kevin Hartman 3)
Chivas USA -- Brad Guzan, Jesus Ochoa (Milton Blanco 88), Ezra Hendrickson (Alfonso Loera 46), Douglas Sequeira, Armando Begines, Thiago Martins (Hector Cuadros 46), Ramon Ramirez, Orlando Perez, Arturo Torres, Isaac Romo, Antonio Martinez.
Substitutes Not Used: Javier Barragan, Christian Jimenez, Aaron Lopez, Rodrigo Lopez, Francisco Mendoza, Mike Munoz.
TOTAL SHOTS: 8 (Orlando Perez 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (3 tied with 1); FOULS: 20 (Armando Begines 4, Arturo Torres 4); OFFSIDES: 1 (Antonio Martinez 1); CORNER KICKS: 1 (Ramon Ramirez 1); SAVES: 6 (Brad Guzan 5)
LA -- Chris Albright (caution; Dissent) 32
CHV -- Douglas Sequeira (caution; Reckless Foul) 43
LA -- Herculez Gomez (caution; Reckless Foul) 64
CHV -- Arturo Torres (caution; Reckless Foul) 68
CHV -- Brad Guzan (caution; Professional Foul) 82
Referee: Abiodun Okulaja
Referee's Assistants: George Gansner; David Bragg
4th Official: Jair Marrufo
Time of Game: 1:51
All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.