By KAYLA KNAPP
CARSON,CALIF — The LA Galaxy came into Saturday's SuperClasico hoping to keep their five-year unbeaten streak against Chivas USA rolling, and tried doing so with a lineup missing both David Beckham and Robbie Keane.
The Rojiblancos had other plans, and bolstered by the team's new acquisitions, Chivas USA played like a team with no interest in being pushed around by their neighbors any longer.
Behind the stellar goalkeeping of Dan Kennedy, and the stingy defense of a back-line led by newly-acquired Dan Califf, Chivas USA posted a 1-0 victory over the Galaxy.
Jose Correa provided the game-winning goal, converting a penalty kick in the 72nd minute after David Junior Lopes used his hand to block a goal-bound shot by Correa. The play drew Lopes a red card and sent Correa to the penalty spot, where he was forced to re-take the penalty after Jorge Villafana entered the penalty area too early during his first attempt. Correa calmly slotted the penalty home a second time for what proved to be the game-winning goal.
Chivas USA started both of their new additions, Califf and forward Juan Agudelo, just one day after they were acquired. Both had good first showings, but Califf especially was crucial in the Rojiblancos’ win.
“I'm over the moon about it, every guy that stepped on the field today brought it," Califf said. "We fought really, really, really hard and I think that was the difference in the end."
Both sides had their chances in the first half, but Chivas had the best opportunity to score in the 34th minute. Miller Bolanos went on a fast break, and beat Galaxy keeper Brian Perk with a low, hard shot,
but was robbed by the goal post.
The Galaxy trotted out a lineup with only one of their Designated Players starting, captain Landon Donovan, who started as a forward for the second game in row before moving to midfield in the second half. David Beckham was on the bench after traveling to Europe for the Olympic torch lighting ceremony, and Robbie Keane was sidelined because of right hamstring tightness.
Immediately after the start of the second half, the Galaxy came out with a passion they didn’t show in the first half. In the 50th minute, Pat Noonan broke down the left flank, and tried to get a cross off to a Donovan, but had it knocked out for a corner.
On the ensuing corner bounced, the ball around in the box, ended up at Kyle Nakazawa’s feet, who took a shot on goal, but Dan Kennedy came up big for Chivas, deflecting the powerful hit out of bounds.
In the 70th minute, everything changed. Perk came off his line to challenge for a cross, missed the ball and got tangled in a mess of players. Correa collected the ball and smashed a shot on frame. Lopes, who was standing on the line, blocked the shot with his hand.
The referee immediately showed him a red card and awarded Chivas a penalty kick. Correa scored, but had his goal taken back because Villafana encroached on the play. Correa took it again, and scored again.
Beckham came on for in Nakazawa the 74th minute, to a loud mix of boos and cheers at the Home Depot Center. His impact was immediate, swinging precise crosses into the penalty area.
Agudelo's night ended in the 76th minute when he was replaced by Juan Pablo Angel. The young U.S. national team forward didn't score on his debut, but still left a good impression on his new team and new coach.
“He’s a player who wants to be on the ball, he’s very attack-minded player, he’s got very solid feet. You could see there were times when he wanted the ball, he wanted to run at people, he wants to make things happen,” Fraser said. “His impact was immediate, and we’re extremely excited to have him and extremely excited to watch him develop. This is a player who is very special.”
In the final 10 minutes of the game, the Galaxy threw everything they could at the Rojiblancos defense, but struggled to really test Kennedy. After yet another difficult performance, Donovan admitted that the game was quite familiar for the Galaxy.
“We played really well the beginning of the second half, had some chances to score and didn’t, and then one kind of weird play, and it determined the game, and that’s kind of how it’s been all year.”
At the final whistle—despite their best efforts—LA could not come up with any late-game magic against the Rojiblancos. This marked the first time in 11 games since Chivas beat the Galaxy, and Fraser was pleased with the result.
“Games are going to have ebbs and flows, and when things didn’t go our way, we didn’t fold, we didn’t crumble, we didn’t back down, we just regrouped and came again," Fraser said. "I felt like it was a very satisfying win for the team in a number of ways, not just winning, but certainly the manner in which they did it.”
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena thought it wasn’t a bad game for LA, just not the result they were looking for—as has been the case for many games this season.
“I think we’ve played a little bit better than our record indicates. Tonight the difference in the game is taking a chance, and we didn’t do it. Give them [Chivas] credit.”