For the first time ever in the Honda Súper Clásico, the Los Angeles Galaxy failed to get the better of Chivas USA. The previous six meetings had all gone to the Galaxy, but two first-half goals from Ante Razov on Thursday night at The Home Depot Center gave Chivas a 2-1 victory. Herculez Gomez scored the consolation goal for the Galaxy.
The Galaxy, normally known as the Green-and-Gold, came out to begin the game wearing blue and yellow, the colors of CD Guadalajara's hated rival, Club America. If seeing red raises the ire of a bull, the yellow and blue definitely sparked Chivas USA. The goats came out and dominated the opening 20 minutes.
Both sides did come out looking to attack from the start. The wide open play lent itself to attacking play and scoring chances came early and often in the opening half.
Chivas had the first threat on goal in the fifth minute. Juan Pablo Garcia hit a free kick from the right flank. Razov ran onto the cross at the back post and stabbed at the ball at the back post but directed his shot wide of the net.
A few minutes later the Galaxy got forward. Kyle Martino tried to slip a through ball to John Wolyniec. The journeyman forward hesitated, waiting for the pass to come to him, and that allowed Chivas defender Jason Hernandez to recover and clear the danger inside his own penalty area.
Chivas then began to dominate the play. In the 13th minute, Francisco Mendoza streaked down the left flank and tried to play a cross into the area. His cross turned into a shot, forcing Kevin Hartman to punch the ball over his crossbar for a corner kick.
Two minutes later Razov opened the scoring for Chivas. This time Mendoza was more accurate with his cross, sending a curling ball to the penalty spot. Razov ripped a first-time volley with his favored left foot off the underside of the crossbar and into the net.
Razov added his second goal of the game in the 21st minute after Chivas caught the Galaxy with too many players forward and launched a counter attack. Palencia hit a wonderful ball with the outside of his foot to rookie Sacha Kljestan, who found Razov just outside the area. Razov curled a side-footer into the corner of the net to give Chivas their first ever multi-goal lead against the Galaxy.
The two-goal cushion didn't last long, though, as the Galaxy immediately went on the attack. Minutes after the goal, Martino almost set up Wolyniec again. The creative playmaking midfielder slipped another through ball to his teammate and this time Wolyniec collected the ball, but fired wide of the post.
The Galaxy goal came in the 27th minute. From a free kick some 25 yards out from goal, the three Galaxy players seemed unsure about what they were doing, starting with some disjointed touches. But Gomez took control of the ball, dribbled across the goal and fired from distance, sneaking his shot just inside Chivas 'keeper Preston Burpo's left-hand post.
The Galaxy had two more chances late in the first half to try and tie the game. Gomez tried his luck on a free kick from 30 yards out and his shot made it through the traffic in front of the net, but was right at Burpo, who made an easy save.
The Galaxy continued to press, and just minutes from halftime won a corner kick. Gomez sent a ball to the back post where Tyrone Marshall won a header, but he couldn't direct his shot on target, leaving the score at 2-1.
The "home side" on the night, the Galaxy poured forward in the second half as Chivas were pinned in. Yet the second half started with a near fatal mistake by Galaxy center back Ugo Ihemelu. Ihemelu tried to play a pass back to Hartman, and could only watch as Razov intercepted the pass. Razov touched the ball past Hartman, but was too strong with his touch, as the ball rolled over the end line for a goal kick.
Only a fingertip kept the Galaxy from leveling the score in the 55th minute. Josh Gardner picked up a loose ball from 25 yards out and fired towards the back post, but Burpo made an impressive diving save to steer the ball around his goalpost.
Four minutes later the Galaxy frontrunners nearly hooked up. Wolyniec fed Gomez, who split two defenders with his run. From a sharp angle Gomez fired on target, forcing Burpo to make a kick save with his right foot to prevent the equalizer.
Then in the 78th minute second-half substitute Alan Gordon got on the end of a Dunivant cross, but his effort was well over the bar.
The victory not only marks an historic moment in Chivas USA history, it also sends the Galaxy deeper into last place, now six points behind Chivas and four points behind Real Salt Lake. Both teams have games in hand (three and two, respectively) over Los Angeles.
Greg Daurio is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.