CARSON, Calif. – Marco Pappa’s stoppage time heroics proved the difference for Chicago as the visiting Fire earned a late 2-1 victory over Chivas USA on Friday at The Home Depot Center.
Pappa lashed home a shot from the edge of the arc that blew past Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy in the second minute of stoppage time to steal three points for the Fire, resigning Chivas to their fifth consecutive loss at home.
Juan Pablo Ángel scored Chivas’ first home goal of the season off a penalty kick in the 23rd minute, but Austin Berry equalizer for the Fire just two minutes later in his first career start. With the result, Chicago continued their unbeaten streak against Chivas that stems back to June 19, 2008.
Chivas manager Robin Fraser made two substitutions from the squad that lost 4-0 to the Colorado Rapids, swapping Ante Jazic for John Alexander Valencia and Paolo Cardozo for Jorge Villafaña. While filling in for the suspended Frank Klopas, Chicago assistant Mike Matkovich opted for the rookie Berry to replace the suspended center back Jalil Anibaba.
Both teams struggled to generate offense from the get go in a match that was chippy from the get-go. In the 16th minute, Chivas USA midfielder Oswaldo Minda picked up a yellow card for a late challenge on Sebastián Grazzini. With the caution, the tenacious Ecuadorian midfielder will be suspended for Chivas’ next match due to yellow-card accumulation.
Chivas USA broke their scoring duck at the Home Depot Center in the 23rd minute after Chicago defender Berry brought down Alejandro Moreno in the box, giving Chivas their first penalty kick since August 7, 2010. Ángel stepped up to the spot and buried his chance past Sean Johnson for the club’s first home goal the season, breaking a 382-minute streak.
Berry got his redemption just two minutes later in the 25th minute. Off a throw-in, a Chivas defender cleared the ball out to Grazzini, who launched a rainbow pass over the Rojiblancos defense to Berry that the rookie defender redirected into the corner from close range.
At the outset of the second half, Chivas controlled possession and almost scored their second goal when Miller Bolaños broke past a pair of Chicago defenders forcing a fingertip save from Johnson. Following Bolaños’ shot, the Fire began to press forward, but denied in the 59th minute as Patrick Nyarko was denied by a Kennedy.
With Chivas throwing numbers forward, Chicago nearly stole three points late in the first minute of stoppage time when Pável Pardo forced a one-handed save from Kennedy that kept the match a one-all draw until Pappa’s late heroics.
Chivas USA, who have now dropped three consecutive matches return to action next week as they travel up to Buck Shaw Stadium on May 13 to face the surging San Jose Earthquakes, while Chicago return to Toyota Park to take on Real Salt Lake on May 9.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Marco Pappa||A constant threat for 90 minutes with his abundant technique, a fantastic give-and-go and finish for the game winner.|
|2||Dan Kennedy||Don't let the two goals fool you – could do nothing on either, and without him, match would have been over much sooner.|
|3||Austin Berry||Forget the penalty, Berry was otherwise terrific throughout the game and had a smart finish to immediately redeem himself.|