CARSON, Calif. – Carlos Álvarez finished a late ball through the box in his Major League Soccer debut and Chivas USA overcame a controversial first-half red card to claim a 1-1 draw with the LA Galaxy in the first SuperClasico showdown of the season on Sunday at The Home Depot Center.
Jack McBean had given LA the lead in the 83rd minute, but Álvarez tapped home Carlos Borja's low cross through the box in the 89th to give Chivas a share of the points.
The Goats had gamely weathered center back Joaquín Velázquez's 40th-minute ejection and held off the dominant Galaxy's second-half forays until McBean got his head to a deflected ball from Mike Magee. Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy got his hand to the ball but couldn't keep it out of his net.
Kennedy and his backline had been strong in thwarting LA's attack, even more so after Velázquez was shown straight late in the first half, though the exactly ultimately failed to make the man advantage pay.
It was just the second time in the last nine meetings that Chivas (1-1-1) had avoided losing to their cross-stadium rivals, who have lost just once in the series since 2007. LA hold a 16-4-6 record in MLS regular-season games against Chivas.
The Galaxy had the better chances throughout – Jose Villarreal hit the crossbar with a header following a 31st-minute free kick and Magee nodded a cross off the left post five minutes into the second half.
The game was chippy from the start, and nearly half of the field players spent time on the turf in the first half, with further dustups in the second half. Minda departed with a hamstring strain in the 18th minute, about five minutes after knocking knees with Magee, and the Goats lost another starter when referee Ricardo Salazar showed Velázquez the red card after a collision with Colin Clark.
Clark slid to win a ball in midfield, just beating Velázquez, who dragged his feet as Clark continued to kick out and fell to the ground. It was a questionable foul at best, but Salazar quickly pulled a yellow card and was reaching into his back pocket for the red card before Velázquez's reaction.
At halftime the yellow card was rescinded, indicating Velázquez was sent off for the altercation, leaving the Goats without the two most important pieces of their defensive spine.
Chivas coach José Luis “Chelís” Sánchez Solá quickly pulled forward Julio Morales, who had made no imprint, for defender Carlos Borja, who went to the left side of the Goats' three-man backline, joining Bobby Burling and Mario de Luna. Chelís then used his final substitution at halftime, giving first-round draft pick Álvarez his debut in place of José Erick Correa.
The Galaxy also made a halftime change, replacing Clark with defender Leonardo, shifting A.J. DeLaGarza to right back and Sean Franklin up into the midfield. Michael Stephens and McBean came on later to push the attack.
However, Chivas took advantage of a Galaxy defensive breakdown, with Ávila feeding Borja down the right-hand channel, who played a pinpoint low cross to the far post for Álvarez to tap-in, giving the Rojiblancos a hard-earneed draw.
The LA Galaxy will remain at home when they host the Colorado Rapids on March 23, while Chivas are back in action a day later when they head to Chicago on March 24.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Carlos Borja||Did a huge amount of work defensively after Velázquez's ejection and provided the pinpoint cross for Chivas' equalizer|
|2||Jack McBean||Proved more capable of opening spaces in the Chivas defense than Villarreal, the man he replaced, and put his header in one of the few places Dan Kennedy couldn't reach for the goal|
|3||Bobby Burling||Shut down Robbie Keane for much of the day, with the Irishman's frustration evident when he picked up a stoppage-time yellow card for bowling into Burling|