The offensive woes that plagued Club Deportivo Chivas USA in preseason spilled over to the regular campaign as the expansion club was shut out by defending champion D.C. United, 2-0, at The Home Depot Center on Saturday.
A pair of untimely injuries led to each goal as Chivas USA struggled to maintain their rhythm after Ezra Hendrickson and Francisco Gomez went down in separate incidents.
The Red-and-White's defense held its own against United despite the absence of center back Douglas Sequeira, who was not available for the game.
D.C. United's Josh Gros opened the score in the 33rd minute while Christian Gomez put the match away in the 76th minute.
Although the match was not sold out, the crowd of 18,493 cheered rabidly and furiously for the home side. Many fans donned the familiar red-and-white striped jerseys of Chivas de Guadalajara and the Legion 1908 cheering section grew more boisterous as the game wore on.
A massive throng of mariachis serenaded the crowd before the match and during halftime, when popular Mexican artist Pablo Montero came out and sang to the crowd. But Chivas USA's offense failed to entertain the crowd as much as the mariachis.
Overall, the Red-and-White appeared more in synch with each other than it had throughout much of the preseason. Ultimately, though, the players lacked creativity in United's third of the field.
In the first half, Chivas USA maintained possession throughout. United took advantage of its lone clear scoring chance, a counterattack after a forced Chivas USA substitution. Often, though, the Chivas USA forwards did not have clean looks at the goal as United's defense stood firm.
The first offensive rush from Chivas USA came in the sixth minute as the club worked the ball around the field. Right back Ezra Hendrickson ended up with the ball on the right flank and sent a cross to the far post, where Matt Taylor drilled a left-footed strike over the crossbar.
Two minutes earlier, Cuadros nearly broke the scoreless draw in the 16th minute when he struck a 25-yard free kick on goal. United 'keeper Nick Rimando dived and pushed it wide, though.
The match was physical as several players on both sides were booked. In the 23rd minute, Chivas USA's Hector Cuadros went down hard but stayed on. Minutes later, though, Francisco Gomez was taken down by United's Alecko Eskandarian and was taken out of the match with an apparent ankle injury.
After a United turnover, Ramirez fed the ball to Gomez just past the center circle. Eskandarian ran into Gomez, who appeared to hurt his ankle. Mendoza came on for Gomez for an early substitution.
Chivas USA quickly turned the ball over after the restart and United capitalized on a counterattack. Chivas USA appeared disjointed following the substitution and did not recover well. United's Gros was wide open on the left post and knocked Brian Carroll's feed past Chivas USA's Guzan.
After the break, Chivas USA nearly pulled level. Ramon Ramirez struck a 22-yard free kick just over the crossbar in the 53rd minute, then Francisco Mendoza came within mere inches of scoring the club's first goal in the 60th minute. Hector Cuadros stood at the top of the box and fed Mendoza, who fired a rocket from 25 yards out that grazed the far post.
After Antonio Martinez came on for Arturo Torres, Taylor moved over to right forward while Martinez took over in Taylor's spot. In the 66th minute, Taylor shook off United's Mike Petke and hit a right-footed blast over the crossbar.
Chivas USA defender Hendrickson fell to the grass in the 75th minute with apparent leg discomfort. As trainers tended to him on the sideline, Gomez took the ball at the top of the area and picked apart the defense as he dribbled in the box and fought off a tackle before slipping a shot past Chivas USA 'keeper Brad Guzan.
Rookie Aaron Lopez started in place of Costa Rican international Sequeira, who had visa issues and could not get back to the United States in time for the match.
Chivas USA will be back in action next Saturday as they travel to San Jose to face the Earthquakes at Spartan Stadium for Soccer Saturday on ESPN2 at 1 p.m. PT.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Christian Gomez (D.C. United)
Luis Bueno is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.
D.C. United (1-0-0) vs. CD Chivas USA (0-1-0)
April 02, 2005 -- The Home Depot Center
DC -- Joshua Gros 1 (Brian Carroll 1, Jaime Moreno 1) 32
DC -- Christian Gomez 1 (unassisted) 76
D.C. United -- Nick Rimando, Bobby Boswell, Mike Petke, Brandon Prideaux, Joshua Gros, Brian Carroll, Ben Olsen, Steve Guppy (Santino Quaranta 68), Alecko Eskandarian (Freddy Adu 74), Christian Gomez (Clyde Simms 83), Jaime Moreno.
Substitutes Not Used: Troy Perkins, David Stokes.
TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Christian Gomez 3, Ben Olsen 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (3 tied with 1); FOULS: 15 (Joshua Gros 5); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 3 (Steve Guppy 2); SAVES: 3 (Nick Rimando 2)
CD Chivas USA -- Brad Guzan, Orlando Perez, Aaron Lopez (Isaac Romo 74), Ryan Suarez, Ezra Hendrickson, Francisco Gomez (Francisco Mendoza 32), Hector Cuadros, Ramon Ramirez, Arturo Torres (Antonio Martinez 58), Thiago Martins, Matt Taylor.
Substitutes Not Used: Victor Arbelaez, Esteban Arias, Javier Barragan, Milton Blanco, Alfonso Loera, Jesus Ochoa.
TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Matt Taylor 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (3 tied with 1); FOULS: 11 (Thiago Martins 2, Ramon Ramirez 2); OFFSIDES: 3 (Matt Taylor 2); CORNER KICKS: 7 (Antonio Martinez 3); SAVES: 1 (Brad Guzan 1)
CHV -- Hector Cuadros (caution; Reckless Foul) 18
DC -- Alecko Eskandarian (caution; Reckless Foul) 29
DC -- Ben Olsen (caution; Reckless Foul) 44
DC -- Christian Gomez (caution; Reckless Foul) 52
Referee: Kevin Stott
Referee's Assistants: -Craig Lowry; Chris Strickland
4th Official: Ramon Hernandez
Time of Game: 1:54
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-72-degrees
All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.