With experience up top and composure in the back, Chivas USA were able to hold on to a 3-2 victory over the New England Revolution on Saturday.
Two goals by Alejandro Moreno, one by Nick LaBrocca and a few fine saves by Dan Kennedy gave Chivas USA their first victory in their epic five-match road swing. With the win, Chivas USA are now unbeaten in five matches against the Revolution, outscoring them 14-2 overall in that span.
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The win did not come easily, however, as New England frequently dominated possession and nearly picked up a draw.
“We did not close out the game very well, we allowed two soft goals to make game more stressful than it should have been,” Moreno told MLSsoccer.com. “It’s a learning experience for us and we’re happy with the result, and three points makes the trip to LA a whole lot better.”
In his first start since returning from the Copa América, the Venezuelan forward was a calming influence, repeatedly going into midfield to help Chivas win possession. When the veteran forward got his chances at net he was clinical, scoring his first goal on a slight touch from a LaBrocca cross and then his second from an Ante Jazic cross.
While Moreno provided the scoring punch, it was Kennedy who was able to make several key saves to keep Chivas USA in matches. With the Revolution creating chances in the first half, Kennedy’s positioning in the box was able to force attackers into bad shots, keeping New England off the board. This pressure resumed as New England mounted a late comeback and began to find space behind the Chivas USA backline, forcing Kennedy once again to be sharp.
But the Chivas USA goalkeeper’s finest moment came just seconds from the final whistle, when he was able to parry away a late effort by Shalrie Joseph to preserve the victory.
“[Kennedy] was huge, he was extremely important and came up big in a number of situations for us,” head coach Robin Fraser said. “It’s so important to have a goalkeeper who will keep you in games while you sort things out and he’s done that many times this year.”
Not only did Chivas USA get three points, but they also welcomed their most recent addition in French midfielder Laurent Courtois. The Frenchman went 24 minutes for Chivas USA in the victory playing along the left side of the midfield. Repeatedly, the experienced Courtois showed a willingness to get involved in physical matches with the Revolution midfield and was able to help the Rojiblancos hold on to the result.
After the match, the latest member of the Rojiblancos admitted that both he and his team have a lot to build on from this particular result on the road looking forward to their next match against the Seattle Sounders.
“I was happy to be part of the team, but we could not suffer that much to get three points when we’re already winning,” Courtois told MLSsoccer.com. “When you’re winning, you handle the game with easy passes and be patient to build opportunities and we didn’t. We suffered and couldn’t manage then we needed an amazing effort to keep the score.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @adamserrano