and after a seven-minute delay where Suarez was carried from the field after a collision with Guzan knocked him out -- Ruiz neatly converted his own penalty when he sent the rookie 'keeper the wrong way (85). Then four minutes deep into stoppage time, O'Brien played provider as FC Dallas broke out on a nearly uncontested counterattack, the Irish winger driving in a cross to the top of the box where Eddie Johnson headed it past an on-rushing Guzan. Here's Thomas Rongen's team (4-3-3): Brad Guzan - Ezra Hendrickson, Douglas Sequeira, Ryan Suarez (Isaac Romo 84), Orlando Perez - Jesus Ochoa (Francisco Mendoza 55), Hector Cuadros, Ramon Ramirez - Arturo Torres, Thiago Martins, Matt Taylor (Antonio Martinez 71) Here's Colin Clarke's team (4-3-3): Scott Garlick - Bobby Rhine, Clarence Goodson, Greg Vanney, David Wagenfuhr - Richard Mulrooney, Simo Valakari, Carey Talley - Eddie Johnson, Carlos Ruiz (Oscar Pareja 89), Ronnie O'Brien
Chivas USA suffered another tough loss on the road after the first victory in club history, Real Salt Lake getting their revenge in a rematch of the expansion rivals with a 2-0 victory at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Wednesday night. Chivas USA are still at the foot of the Western Conference table with four points from eight matches, still three points behind fifth-place Colorado Rapids and now 11 points adrift of pace-setting FC Dallas.
Real scored a pair of goals two minutes apart in the first half while nearly completely shutting down the Chivas USA attack. Andy Williams gave the home side the lead on 27 minutes, Chris Brown bursting into the box from the right and pulling Brad Guzan off his line before sliding a pass across to Williams, who tapped home easily for his goal with RSL. A pair of players making their first Real starts teamed up two minutes later. Jordan Cila got out of the corner before driving a low ball to the near post where Seth Trembly came sliding in to knock it home. Chivas USA were held without a single shot on goal for the entire match, as Real 'keeper D.J. Countess wasn't called upon to make a save in his return to the lineup. He was saved by the woodwork, however, a 30th-minute shot from Hector Cuadros hitting the inside of the post before bouncing back to the RSL shot-stopper. For the third match in a row, Chivas USA coach Thomas Rongen kept his starting XI the same. Here's Rongen's team (4-2-3-1): Brad Guzan - Ezra Hendrickson, Alfonso Loera, Ryan Suarez (Francisco Gomez 82), Armando Begines - Douglas Sequeira, Orlando Perez (Isaac Romo 55) - Hector Cuadros, Ramon Ramirez, Francisco Mendoza (Arturo Torres 68) -Thiago Martins "(Tonight was) another tough loss for us," said Chivas coach Thomas Rongen. "We had 10 bad minutes where they scored two goals. ... We fought hard in the second half to get back in the game. We had a few chances we couldn't capitalize on."
Chivas were left a man down for the final seconds after center back Alfonso Loera received a pair of bookings in short order, first for delaying a restart then for kicking the ball into the crowd. Midfielder Francisco Gomez did return to action for the time since suffering an injury in the April 2 season opener against D.C. United. "Our ball movement was there at times," said Gomez. "I think our final pass is what we need to work on. We couldn't get anyone in behind (the defense). I think we kept the ball real well. That final pass or final cross is something that is very crucial right now." Chivas captain Ramon Ramirez intimated after the match the somewhat experimental makeup of the club could be a reason for the struggles out of the gate. "Our biggest mistake is to think we're still in Mexico," said Ramirez through an interpreter. "We are now in the United States. This is our league. This is our competition. If we think that, there are lots of things we're having a hard time getting used to. It's a question of time. Bit by bit we need to overcome these little details because we still need a little bit of time and with a few good results, things are going to change for this team."
FC Dallas returned home for a rare game at the Cotton Bowl and overcame an early first-half, again scoring two late goals to grab a result, this time a 2-1 victory against the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday night. With the victory, FC Dallas took over the top spot in the Western Conference with 15 points from eight matches, three ahead of the Los Angeles Galaxy and just four points off the league's best record held by the New England Revolution.
The Rapids jumped out to an early lead when Jean-Philippe Peguero powered through the heart of the box to meet a Chris Henderson and head Colorado into the lead (12). But just after Ramon Nuñez came on for Oscar Pareja - given the starting job in central midfield with the season-ending injury to Richard Mulrooney - FC Dallas struck back. Nuñez hooked in a fine cross that found O'Brien, and he sent a sneaky left-footed shot from the top of the area just after the hour. Then Carlos Ruiz finished off the comeback in the 77th minute, Clarence Goodson corralling a loose ball and finding the Guatemalan international unmarked at the back post for an easy tap-in. FC Dallas boss Colin Clarke made two changes to the team that played to a scoreless draw at San Jose the Saturday before, both because of injury. Oscar Pareja came into central midfield for the injured Richard Mulrooney, while Chris Gbandi made his first start of 2005, coming in at left back for David Wagenfuhr. Here's Clarke's team (4-4-2): Scott Garlick - Bobby Rhine, Clarence Goodson, Greg Vanney, Chris Gbandi - Ronnie O'Brien, Simo Valakari, Oscar Pareja (Ramon Nunez 60), Carey Talley (Aaron Pitchkolan 10) - Eddie Johnson, Carlos Ruiz (Drew Moor 87) "I just thought we were flat," said FCD head coach Colin Clarke. "We didn't come out with any urgency. They looked like they wanted it a little bit more than we did." But FC Dallas responded: "Colorado came out harder and sharper," FC Dallas captain Simo Valakari said to the Star-Telegram. "It was a wake-up call for us and we were much, much better in the second half. It's a sign of a good team that can win when you don't play your best."
Also weighing on the FC Dallas start was how the club would respond to the loss of Mulrooney, the driving force for the club's early success this season. "We've been looking for a player like him for four years," FC Dallas manager Colin Clarke said to the Dallas Morning News. "They don't come around too often. It's a huge blow for us." It was their only home game in a stretch from the end of April to mid-June, while the Frisco Soccer and Entertainment Center is being completed. The Hoops now have four consecutive road matches before returning home for back-to-back matches at the Cotton Bowl on June 18 (v Los Angeles) and June 22 (v Chivas USA). FC Dallas has taken nine points from their three home games. It was the first time since coming back to defeat Chicago on April 21, 2001 that Dallas had overcome a halftime deficit to win a game. In 40 games since trailing at halftime, the best the Dallas club was able to achieve was six draws. There was another injury concern in midfield coming out of the match, as Carey Talley was forced off after just 10 minutes with a rib injury. Aaron Pitchkolan came on in his place, making his professional debut. "I thought he done very well," said Clarke. "Young kid, first game, he wasn't out of place at all. I thought he did very well." Asked whether he was nervous, Pitchkolan said: "Not really with training and hanging around these guys. They're all really good professionals and really help each other out so it wasn't too bad."