CARSON, Calif. — Ben Zemanski and Nick LaBrocca provided the action as Chivas USA snapped their four-game winless streak with a 2-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes at The Home Depot Center on Wedensday night.
Zemanski's rocket from distance gave the Rojiblancos the lead midway through the second half, and LaBrocca scored the insurance goal with six minutes remaining to help his team tie San Jose in the Western Conference.
Chivas USA controlled wide stretches of what was initially a plodding game. Justin Braun nearly put the Rojiblancos up in the 16th minute, when he broke past an Earthquakes defender but fired a shot that was easily saved by Jon Busch.
Moments later, Braun turned distributor for Victor Estupiñán, whose effort was also saved by Busch.
San Jose capped off a half in which both teams struggled to score with a Steven Lenhart chance that just went wide of the far post in the 42nd minute.
The Earthquakes came out with renewed energy for the second half, but the match opened up when Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser inserted Zemanski in the 58th minute.
Zemanksi's energy seemed to liven up a Chivas USA squad that was struggling to break through the Earthquakes' midfield. With Zemanski in the middle, LaBrocca and the rest of the Rojiblancos were able to find more space in front of goal and challenge the Earthquakes defense.
Chivas USA finally struck gold in the 64th minute, when Braun played the ball onto Zemanski, who fired a bending strike from 30 yards that swerved out of Busch's reach. The goal was Zemanski’s second in his sophomore season.
The Goats doubled their lead in the 84th minute. Second-half substitute midfielder Francisco “Panchito” Mendoza easily unlocked the Earthquakes defense with a pass to LaBrocca, and the attack-minded midfielder found himself in a world of space and coolly finished his fifth goal of the season.
The match was a difficult one for San Jose, who continually failed to create chances and challenge the Rojiblancos defense.
Scoring deficiencies aside, the Earthquakes did not make it out of the match unscathed as right back Steven Beitashour was pulled just before halftime with an injury.
The losses for San Jose did not stop there. Lenhart was yellow carded in the 60th minute of play, and will miss the next match due to yellow card accumulation.
Both teams will go right back into action on the weekend, with Chivas USA traveling to Livestrong Sporting Park to take on Sporting Kansas City, while the Earthquakes return home to take on the Philadelphia Union at Buck Shaw Stadium.
CHV -- Ben Zemanski 2 (Justin Braun 2) 64
CHV -- Nick LaBrocca 5 (Francisco Mendoza 1) 84
SJ -- Steven Lenhart (caution; Simulation) 60
San Jose Earthquakes -- Jon Busch, Steven Beitashour (Tim Ward 45), Jason Hernandez, Chris Leitch, Ramiro Corrales, Sam Cronin (Omar Jasseh 77), Brad Ring, Joey Gjertsen (Simon Dawkins 46), Ryan Johnson, Chris Wondolowski, Steven Lenhart.
Substitutes Not Used: Ellis McLoughlin, Scott Sealy, Khari Stephenson, Andrew Weber.
Chivas USA -- Dan Kennedy, Michael Lahoud, Michael Umana, Heath Pearce, Zarek Valentin, Blair Gavin (Francisco Mendoza 74), Nick LaBrocca, Simon Elliott, Jorge Flores (Ben Zemanski 58), Justin Braun, Victor Estupinan.
Substitutes Not Used: Andrew Boyens, Chris Cortez, Marcos Mondaini, Mariano Trujillo, Zach Thornton.
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Referee's Assistants: -Fabio Tovar; Ian Anderson
4th Official: Juan Guzman
Weather: Clear and 75 degrees