CARSON, Calif. – Real Salt Lake will have to wait at least another week to get into MLS's postseason after Chivas USA halted a seven-game losing streak on Sunday afternoon at StubHub Center.
Felix Borja scored his first MLS goal at the start of the second half, and the Goats (7-18-6) held on for their second victory this season over RSL and their first win since July 12.
RSL (13-8-10), which dropped 1-0 decisions at StubHub against Chivas on June 28 and the LA Galaxy on July 12, holds a one-point lead on FC Dallas in the fight for third place in the Western Conference with games remaining Saturday at home against San Jose, Oct. 17 at Portland and an Oct. 22 rematch with Chivas in Utah.
Chivas (7-18-6) did not concede a shot on goal until Javier Morales sent a free kick straight to goalkeeper Kennedy in the 84th minute, but they came close to scoring five times, three in the first half through Leandro Barrera on the left flank.
Alvaro Saborio made his second start since returning from the broken foot that cost him a World Cup, getting several chances – the best a header over the crossbar in the third minute and a volley that went high in the 16th – but unable to keep them on frame.
RSL made three changes from their team in last week's loss at Vancouver, with Chris Schuler back in central defense for Abdoulie Mansally, Rimando in the nets for Jeff Attinella, and Ned Grabavoy favored over Luis Gil on the left side of midfield. Schuler exited the game with a possible broken nose and facial contusion after knocking heads with teammate Nat Borchers on a 32nd-minute Chivas corner kick, with Rich Balchan coming in at right back and Carlos Salcedo moving inside.
RSL had most of the ball but the Goats had the better scoring opportunities, with Borja firing into the left-post netting from a Barrera feed in the 20th minute, then whiffing on a Barrera pass just behind the 6 in the 23rd. Barrera forced a one-on-one save from Rimando just before halftime.
Borja provided Chivas a 47th-minute lead, volleying home the rebound after Torres chipped a shot from 20 yards off the crossbar.
Torres had a chance to double the advantage after he was taken down by Balchan -- it appeared the foul began just outside the box -- but Rimando dived to his right to stop the spot kick. Rimando has conceded just once on five penalties this season, and opponents have made just 25 of 39 spot kicks against him since he joined RSL in 2007.
RSL had chances in stoppage, but Morales' bending shot from the right sailed past the upper-left corner of the goal and he was blocked a few minutes later in the middle of the Goats' box.
Morales and Chivas USA midfielder Nathan Sturgis picked up late cautions to earn one-game suspensions for yellow card accumulation.
Chivas are home next Saturday against Colorado while RSL will host the San Jose Earthquakes on the same evening.
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Felix Borja||Scored his first MLS goal and was a consistent threat on the counter for Chivas USA.|
|2||Bobby Burling||Was integral to halting RSL's advances and had a header go off the post on a set piece.|
|3||Nick Rimando||Made a signature PK save on Cubo Torres and came up huge on a couple other occasions.|