CARSON, Calif. – Chivas USA came out with great energy and gave the LA Galaxy something of a scare in the early minutes of the season's second SuperClasico, then held off their cross-stadium rival for a 1-1 draw, just the third time they've avoided a loss in the series in 13 meetings since their playoff series in 2009.
Erick "Cubo" Torres gave Chivas a 20th-minute lead with his ninth goal of the season, but Gyasi Zardes headed the Galaxy even 15 minutes later, and the rest of the game was played primarily in and in front of Chivas' box.
The Galaxy (4-3-5) extended their unbeaten streak to four games – and to seven in the SuperClasico, since the Goats' victory in May 2012 – and improved their record against Chivas to 21-4-8 in all competitions.
Chivas (2-7-5) are winless in four games and have won just once in 13 since their opening-night victory over Chicago.
LA were without captain Robbie Keane, who is with Ireland's national team, so head coach Bruce Arena went with Samuel and Zardes up top and switched to a diamond midfield after three games in a flat formation. Landon Donovan was at the point of the diamond while Marcelo Sarvas – making his first start in seven weeks after returning from a knee injury – slotted in on the left. Elsewhere for LA, Robbie Rogers made his first start of the year, at right back.
Chivas mirrored the Galaxy's formation, with Wilmer Cabrera making four changes from his lineup in last weekend's defeat to Philadelphia. The most notable additions were first-choice center backs Carlos Bocanegra and Bobby Burling, returning from a hamstring irriation and red-card suspension, respectively.
Goalkeeper Dan Kennedy took sole possession of Chivas' appearances record with his 124th, passing Jonathan Bornstein and Francisco Mendoza.
The Galaxy had most of the possession – some 65.5 percent for the game – but the early chances belonged to Chivas, who threatened three times before Torres struck. Rogers shut down Torres in LA's box in the sixth minute, and Jaime Penedo leaped to deny Barrera in the 10th and pushed aside Bocanegra's sharp header from a Rosales corner kick in the 17th.
Torres struck three minutes later, giving the Goats their first lead in three games and first in the SuperClasico since their last victory in the series, in May 2012.
Martin Rivero set up the goal, his pass from the right splitting two defenders and deflecting off Leonardo to Torres, who cut back inside Leonardo and placed the ball inside the left post.
The deficit sparked the Galaxy, who took command of the proceedings afterward and never let go.
LA nearly tied it up in the 27th minute, when Kennedy pushed Donovan's chip from 22 yards into the left post, then leapt across his goalmouth to snag Sarvas' header on the rebound. He had no chance against Zardes eight minutes later.
The goal climaxed a long period of possession for LA. Stefan Ishizaki, double-teamed on the right flank, cut the ball back to Sarvas at the top of the box, and the Brazilian midfielder gently arced the ball toward Zardes near the 6-yard box. Zardes, between Rosales and Donny Toia, jumped to redirect the ball off Kennedy's hand and into the net.
The Galaxy hovered around the Goats' box for much of the remainder of the match but struggled to turn its domination into chances. They had two opportunities at the finish, with Chandler Hoffman firing across the goalmouth and just past the left post in the 90th minute and then seeing his close-range effort stopped by Kennedy at the right post deep into stoppage time.
Chivas are back in action Saturday, traveling to North Carolina for a US Open Cup fourth-round match with the NASL's Carolina RailHawks. The Galaxy visit USL PRO's Arizona United for their 2014 Open Cup debut on June 18.
Both clubs return to MLS action on June 28, Chivas at home against Real Salt Lake and the Galaxy at San Jose.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Dan Kennedy||Six saves on the day – including a stunning double effort in the first half and point-blank stop in 2nd-half stoppage time – were critical in securing a point for the Goats|
|2||Gyasi Zardes||Active and involved throughout the day in LA's attack – looked strong on the ball, consistently got himself into good positions and rose perfectly to head in the tying goal|
|3||Martin Rivero||Arguably the best player through the first 30 minutes, operating smoothly in front of LA's defense and showing good instincts to find Torres for the goal|