It had the makings of a tightly-contested rivalry match. The LA Galaxy and Chivas USA were tied 2-2 late in the second half in a match that looked destined to be a tie.
At least before the Chivas USA imploded, Brad Guzan reverted to his awful rookie form and Alan Gordon did his best Bizarro Alan Gordon impression.
Three unanswered goals helped the Galaxy post a 5-2 victory and left Chivas USA searching for answers as to why this year’s version of the Goats is so much worse than the 2007 edition.
The Galaxy’s masterful performance was marred by some ugly scenes in the Home Depot Center stands, where some Chivas USA fans (if you want to call them fans) did their best wannabe hooligan impressions.
SBI Correspondents Nathan Henderson-James and John Sandate were at Home Depot Center and took in the action. Here are there accounts of the match:
Galaxy basking in the glow of a Clasico blowout
By NATHAN HENDERSON-JAMES
Ooooh baby! That. Felt. Good!
Let’s savor that for a moment: Los Angeles Galaxy 5 – Chivas USA 2. As the sign behind the Angel City Brigade said, "THIS IS OUR HOUSE. TIME TO PAY THE RENT!!"
Let’s also take a minute to savor the fact that this victory leaves the Galaxy sitting in second in the West.
Because who knows how long that will last.
But so what? Surely the defense still isn’t instilling large measures of confidence, but, oh, kiddies, what an offense! A hat-trick for Landon Donovan and a brace for, wait for it, Alan Gordon! And other
folks joined in too.
Mike Randolph and Brandon McDonald both won challenges that resulted in Donovan’s superb touch and finish for the first goal. Randolph’s cross resulted in the second goal for the G’s, though it was Donovan’s
grit and persistence that delivered the finish. The third goal was all Alan Gordon’s refusal to quit, the fourth was again Donovan’s finishing touch, and the fifth was what happens when Beckham and
Donovan are on the field together. Offense happens. When Ruiz comes back I don’t know what’s going to happen to opposing defenses, but I’m pretty sure it won’t involve any clean sheets.
What to say about Alan Gordon, a player I’ve taken to the woodshed for three straight weeks? I’m tempted to take it all back, but the reality is that, so far, Gordon isn’t suited to being a starter in MLS.
However, Saturday shows what he could bring to the Galaxy as a late-game substitute and why he always earns praise for his workrate.
On defense, I love Abel Xavier in the air, but he’s also good for about three howlers a game and Saturday night they were worth two Chivas goals. Getting juked by Kljestan (what a move and shot – I hope he packs that for Beijing) and then absolutely bungling the cross that (eventually) led to Razov’s strike are two reasons he always gives me heart palpitations when he’s on the field.
I blame Cronin as well. I don’t know what he was thinking on the first goal, raising his arms like the ball was going wide. If by "wide" you mean curling into the top right corner of the goal, then sure, it was
going wide. Chasing Braun to the endline was also suspect. Yes, if the defenders do this thing called "clearing the ball", Razov never puts laces to leather, but this is the Galaxy back line we’re talking
So far I haven’t said much about the "biggest rivalry in MLS" (thank you oh exalted masters of hyperbole at Fox Soccer Channel). I have a confession to make. I don’t feel it that much. Don’t get me wrong. The
SuperClasico atmosphere is excellent for MLS. But I grew up as a partisan in one of the greatest sports rivalries in the United States: Duke vs. UNC. I enjoy the SuperClasico, but Cameron Indoor Stadium it
On a side note, is it too early to start tracking Sean Franklin for Rookie Of The Year Honors?
Bottom Line: The Galaxy has now scored more goals than any club in the league, but has a 0 goal differential. If I get more games like the last two, then I’ll take it. This is what playing as a team with
confidence looks like.
Last Note: Refereeing is not catching up with the increasing quality of play. On the first Galaxy goal, McDonald handled the ball that (eventually) ended up being buried by Landon and I don’t know how many
other calls were shaky at best. I’m not trying to call out Jair Marrufo so much as I’m yearning for a professionally-called match.
Chivas USA shows poor form on the field, in the stands
By JOHN SANDATE
What can you say about a 5-2 beating from your most hated rival? Not much. It wasn’t sexy, but it was effective. This year’s first of three Honda Super Clasicos was everything MLS would have wanted from any game: pageantry, vociferous fans, and filled seats. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect form this game. I knew Galaxy had a little momentum, but I didn’t expect Brad Guzan and the Chivas USA defense to lose focus when the game intensified. The goals came and came, and our defense looked tired. They’ll be back but this loss leaves them in a fragile state. All in all, 14 goals in 5 games, not good. The Galaxy attack deserves credit for bringing it.
Don’t get me wrong. This game really was even for the first 65 minutes and then it happened. Galaxy scored to take the lead and it never looked back. Chivas USA lost it’s mojo never recovered. Ante Razov played well and so didfuture team MVP, Sacha Kljestan. Nevertheless, it wasn’t enough. Credit must be given to the Los Angeles Galaxy for its ability to play with purpose and intent. Chivas USA had spurts and countless chances, but in the end there can only be one victor. Hell, Chivas USA outshot the Galaxy, but with no real result.
Aside from the exciting game, that saw two lead changes, the crowd was intense. The vibe was cheerful and passionate. All that seemed to change after halftime; it started with beer throwing, scuffles, and other “crude” behavior. It was a shameful night to be a Chivas USA fan to get beat 5-2 and to see fellow Chivas fans stoop so low as to provoke fights with themselves. Women and children were also the victims of this vile behavior. I hate to say it but security was lax and should share in the blame. Some Chivas fans looked liked English football fans in the 80’s. Losing is not worth this much. It’s a rivalry, not Shiite vs. Sunni.
Losing to the Galaxy can be fixed, but witnessing mob violence from your own fans, I’m not so sure. It really is just a game. I hope MLS investigates.