The Goats are back (for now).
After a two-game losing streak with two shutout losses, Chivas USA looked like it might slip back into its early-season funk. Not so fast. All the Goats did was put together a convincing 2-0 win against the suddenly slumping Chicago Fire. A win that has Chivas USA thinking about moving up in the West.
What has happened to the Fire? Winless in June, Chicago dropped their third straight MLS decision and look like a shell of the team that dominated the league for the first two months. With a defense showing cracks, and an attack that has managed one goal in three matches, the Fire need to regroup in a hurry in the loaded Eastern Conference.
SBI correspondent John Sandate was at Home Depot Center for the match and gave us his report on the action (Chicago correspondent Stephen Wattles’ was unable to file a report due to the birth of his child last weekend.)
Guzan stars as Chivas USA shines
By JOHN SANDATE
Tonight, Chivas USA won its fourth game in its last six contests. An awesome display of offensive attack and top level goalkeeping from Brad Guzan must have surely made MLS bigwigs gush with joy. Especially, since Chivas’ 2-0 drubbing of the once-might Chicago Fire was on ESPN2 before a national audience. This was Chivas USA soccer. Check that, futbol. The players may have changed slightly from past line-ups (again) but the voracious pursuit to put the ball in the back of the net was something not to common in the MLS. Don’t believe me? Even with one man down, Chicago still could not find the net in the second half. Chivas USA is not an offensive juggernaut as of yet, make no mistake about it.
However, you have to wonder if Preki’s sadistically-intense practices and Denis Te Klose’s Ajax influence are starting to morph into a league version of “Total Football”. Don’t laugh. This team never stopped pushing forward and always had players shifting around to defend the ball and keep the attack flowing. Intense defense and sublime passing. The Fire look flustered.
The crowd was significantly larger than recent Chivas USA games and you can thank Cuauhtemoc Blanco for that. His Club America fans came out in droves. This was good for the league and most importantly, for Chivas USA finances. Unfortunately, this game also brought out the bad seeds, too. Club America’s infamous supporters, La Monumental, also came out to get their “Blanco” fix and brought their shanks to the game to celebrate. You may have spotted them during the telecast; they took off their shirts to show off their beer guts and Mexi-mullets and proceeded to spend the entire night trying to taunt Chivas fans in section 104. Thankfully, trouble was averted due in large part to the Department of Home Depot Security and a few dozen or so Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies WITH GUNS. Oh well, it really is a double edged sword when Chicago fire comes to LA to play Chivas USA: good for business, bad for living free. Kudos to the Chivas USA front office for taking extreme security measures again to protect all the fans.
Here’s what I learned from this game about Chivas USA and not in any particular order. Raphael Wicky is still world class-quality, when healthy. Sacha Kljestan obviously is close to becoming the next Clint Dempsey or better. Pancho Mendoza is a better left back than left wing. Justin Braun plays better when knows he’s 6’3″ 215lbs. Ante Razov can still play, no goals but 2 assists. Claudio Suarez is old, real old. Can he still defend? Damn skippy. Last, a copy of this game should be sent to every European football team that is in need of a goalkeeper who plays smart and fearless. I don’t think even MLS-hater Steven Cohen can’t argue that Guzan is world class now. Tonight’s game was really a global tryout for Brad Guzan. If Chivas USA doesn’t get at least 6 million in a transfer fee for this man, than something is wrong.
As for the match, everything went right.