CARSON, Calif. – With one victory in the SuperClásico, Chivas USA was able to wipe out a pair of dubious distinctions and build confidence for the long season ahead.
Jose Erik Correa’s penalty kick goal in the 72nd minute gave the Rojiblancos not only their first victory of the season at the Home Depot Center in 2012, but their first victory against the LA Galaxy in five years.
HIGHLIGHTS: CHV 1, LA 0
That record against the Galaxy has long been a source of shame for the organization, and head coach Robin Fraser was determined to change that this week.
“As I said [before], I was surprised by the nature of the comments after our first game last year and it was very evident that there is very little respect for this club [from the Galaxy],” head coach Robin Fraser told reporters after the game. “We talked a lot during the week that the only way to get respect is to go out and earn it and I thought they did a good job of that tonight.”
One source of energy for the Rojiblancos’ victory was the inclusion of Danny Califf and Juan Agudelo, who arrived at the Home Depot Center in separate midweek trades from Philadelphia and New York respectively.
Both had their flashes – Agudelo was active in his 76 minutes on the field, even helping set up the sequence that led to Correa’s penalty kick goal by creating contact with goalkeeper Brian Perk on the play.
But while Agudelo had his moments, Califf put in a stellar performance against the Galaxy. Partnered up alongside Rauwshan McKenzie, the newly-acquired defender was a vocal presence along Chivas’ back line, repeatedly keeping the back four in shape as the Galaxy pushed for a goal.
No moment was more indicative of his performance than when he was able to stop a Mike Magee breakaway by forcing a turnover just seconds before the Galaxy forward was set to place a shot on goal midway through the second half. Following the match, Fraser admitted that his group was able to harness the enthusiasm of a wild week into a victory.
“I think when you bring new players in; having new players creates a sort of excitement. It’s almost people are feeling that maybe the team is a little different than it was last week,” Fraser said. “I think that happens naturally anyway then when you bring in two players of the quality that we brought in, I think that energy and anticipation is immediately rewarded.
"I think out of that you see more confidence throughout the group and I felt like tonight, we looked like a more confident group than we had in a while.”
Although the club said repeatedly on Saturday that they will savor their victory in the SuperClásico, Chivas’ new defensive acquisition admitted that the win could just be the first step towards greater things.
“[This win against the Galaxy] is huge for the team and the organization,” said Califf after his first match with the club. “I hope that it’s going to be a stepping stone for the future.”
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.