CARSON, Calif. -- Real Salt Lake scored goals at the start of both halves and netted two more near the end to claim their third victory in the last four games and extend Chivas USA's winless streak to six games with a 4-1 decision Sunday night at the Home Depot Center.
Ned Grabavoy provided a fourth-minute lead, Joao Plata doubled the advantage in the 48th minute, Robbie Findley secured the result in the 78th, and Grabavoy added a strike in stoppage time as RSL (6-5-2) leapt to second place in the Western Conference, just four points behind FC Dallas.
Chivas USA (3-6-2) lost for the fifth time in six games, and have been outscored 11-1 in their last three games, and remain in the Western basement, but it ended a 273-minute shutout streak on Jorge Villafaña's header 10 minutes after the break to make a game of it in the second half.
It was an ugly, sloppy match marked by unforced turnovers and defensive disorganization as both teams struggled while missing important players.
RSL continues to forge on without forward Alvaro Saborio, who is dealing with a quadriceps tear, and Chivas was deprived of two suspended players (rookie midfielder Carlos Alvarez and defender Mario de Luna) and injured holding midfielder Oswaldo Minda.
RSL was ahead after just 185 seconds. Luis Gil, on the right flank, played a ball into a crowded area about 10 yards above the Chivas box for Javier Morales, who tried to push the ball through.
Morales shanked the pass, the ball going to the left rather than forward, and it rolled just beyond defender Bobby Burling. Grabavoy picked it up with nothing but space ahead of him, took it almost to the box, then slotted it inside the left post. It was his first regular-season goal since October 2010.
Plata made it 2-0 a little more than two minutes after the break. Aaron Ponce's chipped pass in midfield caromed off Kyle Beckerman's head and behind the Goats' backline, and Plata raced toward the Chivas box with Steve Purdy in pursuit, then fired inside the right post.
Chivas nearly pulled even within 10 minutes. Villafaña got his head to a looping Edgar Mejia cross into the 6-yard box from the right flank to halve the deficit in the 55th minute, and Jose Erick Correa had an open shot from Giovani Casillas' cross in the 57th but blasted it at Nick Rimando, who knocked it away.
Real Salt Lake repeatedly found paths to the Goats' box but rarely challenged goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, who was back after serving a red-card suspension in last week's loss at Portland. The Utahns should have added a third goal in the 66th minute, when Robbie Findley, who had come on just three minutes earlier, beat an offside trap to run onto a through ball and took it alone to the box. He tried to take it around Kennedy, who stood the forward up and forced him to the right, and when the shot finally came, it was wide of the target.
Kennedy made two more big saves in the 77th minute, stopping Gil on a counterattack and tipping a Morales shot from distance over the bar, but RSL ended all suspense as Findley finished a Yordany Alvarez feed at the left post after it was misplayed by Chivas' Walter Vilchez, and Grabavoy slotted home his second on another counter.
Chivas USA plays next Saturday at Colorado, and RSL is home against Chicago.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Ned Grabavoy||Bookended the night with his brace, as he was rewarded for making timely runs to beat Chivas' high line|
|2||Chris Wingert||Did well to neutralize Eric Avila in the 2nd half, after Avila had a strong 1st half on the right flank|
|3||Dan Kennedy||Once again, the scoreline didn't flatter his efforts, but he had four saves and a free kick. Yep, you read that right.|