The Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA resumed what has already become a very heated rivalry, trading goals, blows and counter-blows in the opening 45 minutes before a pair of goals after the break gave the Galaxy a 5-2 victory in their fourth round match in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match at The Home Depot Center on Wednesday night.
Five different Galaxy players scored as they twice came back from deficits. Herculez Gomez continued his hot form, scoring the eventual game-winner just before halftime, then Landon Donovan and Chris Albright put the game away after the break.
The Galaxy's starting 11 was somewhat of an experimental one, with five regular starters not present in the lineup. Tyrone Marshall was out with an injury, and wasn't expected to play, but Donovan, Albright, Pete Vagenas and Kevin Hartman started the game on the bench.
Chivas got off to a good start in the match played at the Track and Field Stadium at The Home Depot Center, getting the game's opening goal in just the fourth minute of play. A well-placed corner kick from the boot of Francisco Gomez made its way to Chivas defender Douglas Sequeira and the Costa Rican international made no mistake, heading the ball down and into the net to give his side its first-ever lead against their Los Angeles rivals.
Just eight minutes later, Cobi Jones had the answer for the Galaxy, volleying home a shot from just outside the penalty area. A poor clearance from the Chivas defense fell to Jones, and his shot somehow made its way through a sea of players in front of Chivas goalie Brad Guzan, who didn't see the shot until it was too late.
But Chivas retook the lead just four minutes later through Ramon Ramirez. Cobi Jones picked up a yellow card for a reckless challenge just outside the box, and on the ensuing free kick, Ramirez bent his shot in to the upper right hand corner past an outstretched Steve Cronin.
Joseph Ngwenya pulled the Galaxy even again in the 36th minute after another Chivas lapse. Ugo Ihemelu stole an errant pass in midfield and sent Ngwenya in on a semi-breakaway. With the defense over pursuing, Ngwenya cut towards the middle and fired a shot past Guzan.
The game continued to go back and forth, and remained a rather hostile affair. In all, five yellow cards were issued in the opening 45 minutes. Jones, Paulo Nagamura and Pando Ramirez all saw yellow for the Galaxy, while Sequeira and Antonio Martinez were booked for Chivas.
Just as it looked like the opening half was going to end without anymore incident, Gomez intercepted a poor pass from Chivas defender Armando Begines. He saw Guzan off his line just a bit and fired a long-range shot which the Chivas 'keeper was able to get a hand to, but he couldn't prevent the ball from rolling into the corner of the net, giving the Galaxy a 3-2 lead in the 45th minute.
Only one change was made at the half with Landon Donovan coming in for Gomez. Just minutes into the first half, Donovan was sent in alone on Guzan by Ngwenya and only a great save from Guzan denied the striker.
Donovan again came within inches of notching a goal in the 65th minute. This time Chivas defender Francisco Gomez misplayed a long clearance, allowing the ball to float over his head. Donovan pounced on the ball, and tried to chip Guzan, but his shot glanced off the crossbar, falling straight down but never crossing the line.
The third time wasn't the charm either for Donovan. He received a pass in the midfield and carried the ball towards goal, beating a defender, cut to the middle and hitting a low shot goal bound. Again, a good save from Guzan directed the ball wide and kept Chivas within one.
Another horrible defensive miscue eventually gave Donovan the goal he was looking for in the 89th minute. Miscommunication between Begines and Guzan on a pass attempt gave Donovan the ball at the edge of the 18 with an empty net to shoot at and he made no mistake.
Chris Albright added another late tally in stoppage time to round out the scoring, and thankfully for the Galaxy, the wasted chances in the second half never came back to haunt them.
The Galaxy advance to the quarterfinals where they will travel to San Jose to play the Earthquakes in the next round. Three consecutive years, from 2000 to 2002, the Galaxy dumped their northern rivals out of the Open Cup with victories in the quarterfinals.
Los Angeles Galaxy 5, Chivas USA 2
U.S. Open Cup Fourth Round
August 3, 2005 - The Home Depot Center Track & Field Stadium, Carson, Calif.
CHV -- Douglas Sequeira (Francisco Gomez) 4
LA -- Cobi Jones (unassisted) 16
CHV -- Ramon Ramirez (unassisted) 20
LA -- Joseph Ngwenya (unassisted) 36
LA -- Herculez Gomez (unassisted) 45
LA -- Landon Donovan (unassisted) 89
LA -- Chris Albright (Landon Donovan) 91+
CHV -- Douglas Sequeira (caution) 16
CHV -- Antonio Martinez (caution) 17
LA -- Cobi Jones (caution) 19
LA -- Guillermo Ramirez (caution) 27
LA -- Paulo Nagamura (caution) 39