Freddy Adu, Philadelphia Union, backheels the ball past Chivas USA's Dan Kennedy, April 21, 2012.
Getty Images

Recap: Adu goal holds up as 9-man Union top Chivas USA

CARSON, Calif. — Down to nine players? No problem.

The Philadelphia Union had two players hit the showers early — plus their coach — but still picked up three points on the road, winning 1-0 over Chivas USA in a feisty affair at The Home Depot Center.

The lone goal was scored by midfielder Freddy Adu in the 40th minute, his first of the season.

The Union earned their second straight win after starting the season with three losses and a draw.

With the defeat, Chivas USA remain winless at home with four straight 1-0 defeats. The Rojiblancos last home victory came last September.


Chivas USA, who had a chance to prove their Western Conference contender status, controlled possession throughout the first 45 minutes, but were unable to create a legitimate chance on frame. The Union, meanwhile, did little to create opportunities for themselves until the goal.

The winning strike came against the run of play, when Michael Farfan tricked his way around Chivas defender Heath Pearce and fired a low ball into the goalmouth. James Riley’s muffed clearance fell to Adu, who sneakily back-heeled the ball into an empty net.

Chivas’ nearly leveled two minutes later when midfielder Nick LaBrocca launched a shot from nearly 20 yards that forced a save from Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath.

In the second half, both teams struggled to generate coherent attacks. The only clear moments came in the the 56th minute, when Blair Gavin's freekick forced a diving save from Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath, and in the 61st minute, when the Union’s Michael Farfan struck a shot that Chivas keeper Dan Kennedy pushed away with a diving stop.

OPTA CHALKBOARD: How the Union got the win

Chivas USA brought on Juan Pablo Ángel in the 63rd minute to try to break through. The Colombian, who missed five matches with concussion symptoms, came on for Paolo Cardozo, who made his Chivas USA debut after recently being acquired in a trade with the LA Galaxy.

Ángel, who was making his second appearance this season, made an immediate impact creating two scoring opportunities in his first five minutes of action. The best one came from a cross by Miller Bolanos that found Angel with space in the area, but his header drifted wide, perhaps showing the striker's rustiness.

But the lack of a breakthrough and Philadelphia’s determination to defend their lead heightened the tone of the match.

In the 75th minute, the Union’s Keon Daniel received a straight red for a studs-up challenge on the Goats’ Ryan Smith.

Ten minutes later, Gabriel Farfan was red-carded after a hard tackle on Riley. Farfan’s challenge led to a scuffle between both teams, which saw Union manager Peter Nowak enter the field, an act that earned him his marching orders. Farfan was red-carded after the melee,

Up two men, Chivas threw numbers forward but were unable to find the equalizer as time expired.

Chivas USA, undefeated on the road, next play away to the Colorado Rapids on Saturday. The Union host the San Jose Earthquakes at PPL Park on the same night.

Rank Player What We Saw
1 Carlos Valdes A beast in the back, he covered extra ground and made the tough tackles even when the Union were down two men.
2 Michael Farfan The match-winning assist was a masterpiece, and his defensive work was tireless.
3 Miller Bolanos The threat down the right flank all night for Chivas USA, his pinpoint cross to Angel late in the match should've been finished.

Full Match Highlights

Who do you want to see on the field vs Real Madrid?

Help select the 2017 MLS All-Stars. Vote now for the MLS All-Star Game Fan XI presented by Target. Everyone that submits a ballot is entered to win a VIP trip to the 2017 MLS All-Star Game.