Chivas USA win on a day of firsts

Vásquez gets win, Goats finally find scoring touch

As New York
goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul mishandled Jesús Padilla’s speculative shot across
his own goal line in the 47th minute of Saturday’s match, there was
a collective sigh of relief from the crowd at the Home Depot Center.

Chivas USA’s
first goal of the season.

The Goats’ first notch of 2010 may not have been spectacular,
but it didn’t need to be. It was enough to jump-start what had, until that
point, been a sagging Chivas USA

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But no longer. The Red-and-White played out the rest of the
game with a kind of swagger in their step, controlling much of the tempo and
netting a second goal in the 90th minute just for insurance.

When the final whistle blew, there were a few more “firsts”
to add to the list for Saturday’s match. First win of the season. First points
of the season. And first win as a head coach for Martín Vásquez.

“I’m a little emotional right now because of the win,” Vásquez
said at the postgame press conference. “There were a lot of things that we have
to fix, and they’re fixable, but I’m very proud of how my team responded after
those first two loses. It wasn’t pretty at times, but we got the result.”

Saturday’s match provided a first glimpse of the kind of
team that Chivas USA will likely become under Vásquez’s care. Dangerous on
offense. Attack-minded play. Quick touches and rapid counterattacks. For the
first time in 2010, all the pieces seemed to finally snap into place.

“Our morale is definitely better now,” Chivas USA captain
Sacha Kljestan said. “We’re happy to have one win, but we still have a lot of
work to do. We just have to look forward and try to get more points from every

Much of the Goats’ success came from a new-look lineup that
handed Darío Delgado and Chukwudi Chijindu their first starts of the season,
and that pushed Jonathan Bornstein up into the midfield. All three proved to be
decisive components in the victory.

“It was great having Johnny up the field a little bit,” said
Kljestan. “He made good runs to stretch the defense and he’s very experienced
on the ball. And I think Darío slid right in and did a good job. We’re very
happy for him.”

“Chukwudi stepped in and was a handful for their defense all
night,” he continued. “He never stopped working over 90 minutes. I’m proud of
him. He’s worked super hard in training to get on the field and we’re glad that
Martín rewarded him and that he stepped up to the plate today.”

Perhaps the biggest contribution of the day came from
Padilla, who caused the first goal and scored the second.

“[Padilla] brought energy and hunger,” said Vásquez. “He’s
not afraid of shooting or making things happen. Now we can build on his game
going forward.”

Chivas USA
will now travel to Houston
for the team’s first road trip of the season. The Red-and-White have never won
in Texas, but
will be looking to break that streak next Saturday.

“We have to go into Houston
knowing that it’s going to be a very hard game and that we have to be solid
defensively,” said Kljestan. “I think we’ll be okay.”