CARSON, Calif. — Justin Braun scored his second hat trick of the year as Chivas USA crushed the Houston Dynamo, 3-0 in front of 11,013 at the Home Depot Center on Saturday night.
The victory marked the first time that Chivas USA had defeated the Dynamo in league play since August 26, 2006, snapping a 12-game winless streak against Dominic Kinnear's men and extending the Goats' unbeaten streak in league play to five straight.
The Rojiblancos started the match out on the front foot making several daring runs at the Houston defense. In the 14th minute, Mike Lahoud tested Tally Hall with a shot from distance. However, the Dynamo’s All-Star goalkeeper was able to parry away the chance to keep the match scoreless.
Houston began to push towards the opposite net in the 24th minute when the Dynamo were able to keep the ball in the Chivas USA end before Geoff Cameron launched a close-range shot that barely missed the Rojiblancos' net.
But Chivas USA got on the board first when Ante Jazic — in his first match back from a calf injury — sprinted up field and sent in a well-placed cross to Braun, who slipped past the defense to get a slim touch for the goal. Braun stroke again less than 10 minutes later in the 40th minute when Blair Gavin played in a deflected pass to the Chivas USA striker, who broke in alone on goal and sent in a looping shot over Hall.
In the second half, the Dynamo were motivated to cut the Rojiblancos' lead, but were unable to break through. Their best chance came in the 61st minute when rookie striker Will Bruin broke away from the defense and fired in a shot that went slightly wide of Dan Kennedy’s net.
Chivas USA nearly added to their lead in the 67th minute when Jorge Flores launched an ambitious shot from around 25 yards out that forced a save from Hall, who needed to cover the rebound from a charging Nick LaBrocca.
The difficult night for the Dynamo continued in the 70th minute of play when Jamaican midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson brought down LaBrocca, earning him his second yellow card and an expulsion from the match. Chivas USA put a capper on the night in the 86th minute when, against the run of play, Jazic led a Chivas counter, sending in another cross to Braun, who finished for his third goal of the night.
With their victory, the Goats improved to 6-7-8 and leapfrogged Houston and San Jose into 10th place in the overall league table. Chivas USA will now embark on a five-game road trip, starting with a July 31 date at Pizza Hut Park against FC Dallas.
The Dynamo, meanwhile, saw their own four-game unbeaten streak snapped and fall to 5-7-9. They head back to Robertson Stadium for a date with the Seattle Sounders on July 30.
CHV -- Justin Braun 5 (Ante Jazic 4) 31
CHV -- Justin Braun 6 (Blair Gavin 2) 40
CHV -- Justin Braun 7 (Ante Jazic 5, Francisco Mendoza 2) 86
HOU -- Je-Vaughn Watson (caution; Tactical Foul) 43
HOU -- Je-Vaughn Watson (caution; Reckless Foul) 70
HOU -- Je-Vaughn Watson (ejection; Second Caution) 70
CHV -- Justin Braun (caution; Reckless Tackle) 81
Houston Dynamo -- Tally Hall, Kofi Sarkodie (Alex Dixon 72), Jermaine Taylor, Andre Hainault, Corey Ashe, Danny Cruz (Adam Moffat 67), Geoff Cameron, Je-Vaughn Watson, Brad Davis, Cam Weaver, Will Bruin.
Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Boswell, Hunter Freeman, Jason Garey, Eddie Robinson, Tyler Deric.
Chivas USA -- Dan Kennedy, Zarek Valentin, Michael Umana, Heath Pearce, Ante Jazic, Michael Lahoud, Simon Elliott, Blair Gavin (Paulo Nagamura 80), Jorge Flores (Francisco Mendoza 72), Justin Braun (Chris Cortez 87), Nick LaBrocca.
Substitutes Not Used: Andrew Boyens, Marcos Mondaini, Mariano Trujillo, Zach Thornton.
Referee: Abiodun Okulaja
Referee's Assistants: Ian Anderson; Jason Cullum
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal
Time of Game: 1:48
Weather: Clear and 70 degrees