Home Depot Center, Carson California, March 17, 2013 (Foto: Victor Posadas)
Chivas USA started “El Super Clasico” much better than they did against FC Dallas. They were not letting the LA Galaxy have their way with them like they did in the previous two installments of the Classico. Both teams were playing hard, gritty soccer like you would expect two teams to play in a heated rivalry. Players were getting hit, pushed, and knockout around but the referee was letting them play. Jose Luis Sanchez Sola, D.T. for Chivas USA, was forced to substitute Oswaldo Minda very early into the game because of a knock he received. Marvin Iraheta received a yellow for elbowing A.J. DeLaGarza. Seam Franklin later relieved a yellow for kicking Josue Soto on the chest.
Even with all this gritty play from both teams, neither could find a way to create on open look at goal in the first part of the first half. Not until the 31st minute was LA Galaxy able to take a shot on goal. This opportunity began as a set play. The ball was centered to the far post were Omar Gonzalez heading the ball back into Chivas USA’s box. Jose Villarreal ran towards the all and headed over Dan Kennedy. Luckily for Chivas USA, the header was a bit too high and it hit the crossbar.
In the 40th minute of play, Colin Clark and Joaquin Velázquez were both running for the ball. Clark slide for the ball but Velázquez tried to block the ball from him. Clark began to raise his legs, and Velázquez tried to draw a foul by dragging his legs to make it seem like Clark tripped him. The referee believed that Velázquez was the one who caused the foul and gave him a yellow. Velázquez then started complaining and the referee gave him another yellow plus a red for dissent. After these series of events, Chivas USA was down a man for the remainder of the game.
Chivas USA didn’t start the second half the way they wished. In the 50th minute, they allowed DeLaGarza to run up to the touch line and cross the ball to Mike Magee who headed the ball towards goal. The ball hit the goal post and bounced away from goal. Chivas USA tried to clear it but their clearance attempt went straight to Marcelo Sarvas who kicked a volley on goal but Kennedy was ready and saved the attempt on goal.
As the game progressed, LA Galaxy began to take control of “El Super Clasico. It seemed like the game was just being lol played on Chivas USA’s side of the pitch. Los Angeles had a couple of close calls at goal but they just couldn’t find the finishing touch. There was a sense in the stadium that it was just a matter of time till the flood gates would open on Chivas USA and LA Galaxy would be victorious.
In the 83rd minute of the game, DeLaGarza passed it Magee who shot at goal. A Chivas USA defender deflected the ball upwards. Jack McBean located the ball and headed it towards goal. Kennedy jumped and stretched his arm as far as he could to try to deflect the ball away from goal, but the ball was too far for his outstretched arm. He was only able to get his fingertips on the ball but it was not enough to stop the ball from crossing the goal line. The goal gave LA Galaxy a 1-0 lead and more than likely the win.
Chivas USA weren’t going to let LA Galaxy win their third “Super Clasico” in a row. Chivas USA took advantage of a defensive breakdown in the LA Galaxy backline. Erick Avila passed the ball to Carlos Borja whom centered a low cross the far post where a crossing Carlos Alvarez who just had to tap the ball into the net. With this goal, Chivas USA tied the game 1-1. The game ended in a draw and both teams split a point.
After the game Chelis seemed to be happy with how his team fought throughout the game. He said, “We won a point in this game. But what matters most is that we won a lot more respect.” He was happy because his team didn’t give up. They played a hard and gritty game. When someone mentioned that people were saying Chivas USA played “dirty” he responded by saying, “My team plays within the rule book. Buy my players play with great will and urgency so they will commit some fouls.”
All in all, it was a good game for Chivas USA. They not only tied against the best team in the MLS but they were able to do it as the away team. The last thing “Chelis” said was, “As the players keep believe in themselves more and more you will see a better team. This team keeps advancing. They are never going back or going sideways they are advancing and you will see a better team.”
Next stop for Chivas USA is a game vs. Chicago Fire at Chicago.