By KAYLA KNAPP
CARSON, Calif. — Chivas USA came into Friday night’s match hungry for their first win home win of the season, while the Chicago Fire came in looking to become the latest team to take three points at the Home Depot Center.
It looked like neither team was going to get what the wanted as the final seconds ticked away, but Marco Pappa lifted the Fire past Chivas USA when he belted a game-winning goal from 20 yards away in the dying seconds of the match to give Chicago a 2-1 victory.
With the score tied in third and final minute of stoppage time, Pappa rocketed a left-footed shot past Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy just before the final whistle to give the Fire their third win of the season and send Chivas USA to their third straight loss and league-worst fifth straight loss at home.
“The group worked hard for 90 minutes, and we scored in the last minute," Pappa said. "We’re really excited, we’re going to enjoy it and look forward to next game."
The match was a wide-open affair, with both sides creating chances throughout. Chivas USA broke through first when Fire rookie Austin Berry was whistled for a penalty in his professional debut, for a foul on Alejandro Moreno. Juan Pablo Angel converted the penalty in the 21st minute for Chivas USA's first home goal of the season.
Chicago answered right back just four minutes later, with Barry redeeming himself by finishing off a chip pass from Sebastian Grazzini to tie the score at 11 in the 25th minute.
“I wouldn’t have bet on myself scoring with my foot for my first goal, but our goal was to keep a shutout and it was kind of my fault; I did the best I could to make up for it,” Berry said after the game.
The Fire (3-2-2) took control of the match in the second half, dominating possession and continually attacking the Chivas defense, but Kennedy kept the Fire off the board with a handful of clutch saves.
Kennedy couldn't keep Pappa's game-winning goal out though, as the Guatemalan midfielder scored in stoppage time from 20 yards out.
While the Fire celebrated a hard-fought road win, it was a far different sentiment for Chivas USA (3-6), who have not earned a result against Chicago since June 19th, 2008.
“Throughout the game there were moments when our movement was good and dynamic," said Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser. "When we got stagnant it became very hard to find any kind of rhythm."
As if yet another home loss weren't bad enough, Chivas USA was also faced with the grim prospect of potentially losing Angel to another concussion. The Colombian striker knocked heads with Chicago defender Gonzalo Segares in just his second start back from a lengthy absence due to concussion-like symptoms.
It is difficult for the Goats to find positives after yet another loss at home, especially when Angel left the game after knocking heads with Gonzalo Segares. This was Angel’s second start since being sidelined with a concussion, causing worry of another setback.