Braun, Goats finally snap winless streak

Win in Kansas City offers confidence for young squad

The streak is over.

Chivas USA’s 630-minute spell of winless league play came to a close on Saturday evening when the Goats downed the Kansas City Wizards at CommunityAmerica Ballpark. Justin Braun was the hero, handing the Red-and-White their first MLS win since May 5 with a pair of goals.

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“Today, the level of concentration was there for 93 minutes, which is why we take the win,” Chivas USA head coach Martín Vásquez said after the match. “We knew it was going to be difficult. Winning here 2-0, I think it’s going to help us to keep building.”

Chivas USA played Kansas City even in the first half, but went ahead in the 56th minute thanks to a near-post drive from Braun. The Goats sealed the victory in the 87th minute, when Braun picked off a pass from Jimmy Conrad and curled it past Wizards goalkeeper Jimmy Nielson.

“It’s huge and well-earned,” Vásquez said of Braun’s performance. “He’s a guy that comes in every day and works, and the last few days he’s been taking his chances well.”

The victory against Kansas City was Braun’s second two-goal performance in as many games. The Utah native scored twice against Houston last Tuesday to secure Chivas USA a spot in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals. He is currently tied for 5th place in the race for the MLS Golden Boot.

“The goals are coming for me now, and it’s nice,” Braun said. “It shows that all my hard work has paid off for me. I put a lot into it this year at training and working on my touch and finishing. I think it is finally showing for me.”

At the other end of the pitch, Chivas USA saw a strong performance from a new-look defensive lineup that included Colombian U-20 Yamith Cuesta in just his second start of the year.

“Our defense was why we were able to win this game,” Vásquez said. “We dealt with their dangerous players. Keeping a zero here against a team that has very good individual players is difficult. A lot of credit goes to our defense.”

Chivas USA will now turn their attention to the 2010 Superliga tournament. The Red-and-White have been placed in Group A and will battle Mexican First Division side Puebla FC on Thursday at The Home Depot Center.

With three wins and a tie from the team’s last four matches in all competitions, Chivas USA look like they have finally found the confidence lacking for much of May and June.

“It’s huge,” Braun said. “The team is building confidence and we’re coming together well, playing well, fighting hard, and finally being hard to play against.”