Recap: Chivas USA 1:0 Pachuca
Chivas USA ended their 2010 SuperLiga campaign on a high note on Wednesday evening, downing Mexican First Division side Pachuca 1-0 at The Home Depot Center.
New signing Giancarlo Maldonado played the hero, netting his first career goal for the Goats in the 7th minute.
Although the Goats won, the result from the night’s previous game (Houston 1, Puebla 0) had left Chivas USA out of contention for a semifinals spot before the match began.
Chivas USA charged out of the gate early on Wednesday night, getting onto the board early. It was veteran defender Ante Jazic who provided the inspiration, sending a long pass forward from his left back position perfectly into the path of a charging Maldonado. The striker took a quick touch at the top of the Pachuca 18-yard-line before blasting a shot past diving goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota for a 1-0 lead.
Pachuca, looking to equalize, started pushing back behind the offensive leadership of striker Édgar Benítez. Employing a quick first step and a deft touch, Benítez began terrorizing the Chivas USA defense from the right side and came close to scoring in the 15th minute. The forward danced around Goats center back Darío Delgado and goalkeeper Dan Kennedy on the six-yard line but lost his balance and failed to slot the ball home.
Looking to pad their lead, the Red-and-White quickly marched back into Pachuca’s end. Maldonado, who finally found a bit of chemistry with his new teammates, again trouble the Tuzos defense, and nearly doubled his team’s lead in the 21st minute. The Venezuelan threaded a neat pass into the area for Jesús Padilla, but Padilla’s left-footed chance skipped into the waiting hands of Cota.
If Pachuca had been a little drowsy at the end of the first half, they were bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for the start of the second.
Attacking with numbers, the Tuzos had what would be their best chance of the game so far in the 53rd minute when Luis Montes collected a loose ball in the midfield and charged forward. The Mexican moved right and then nailed a hard low shot back across the goal that slipped just inches wide of the far upright.
The run of play opened up for both sides in the complementary period as substitutes for both teams brought fresh legs onto the pitch.
But while fitness and physicality were readily available for each side, there seemed to be a lack of cohesion that kept either team from really establishing a solid rhythm, and much of the second 45 was marred by missed opportunities and errant final passes.
Chivas USA subsitute striker Chukwudi Chijindu seemed to have the best of it, hassling the Pachuca defense with relentless speed. He would punctuate the final moments of the game with an outstanding individual effort, dancing around two Tuzos defenders and the goalkeeper before his final chip rattled off the crossbar.
The Goats finished in third place of SuperLiga Group A with four points and a
1-1-1 record. They will now return to MLS play on Saturday, travelling to face reigning MLS Cup Champions Real Salt Lake.
Pachuca end their preseason tune-up with three straight
losses, a huge disappointment for the reigning CONCACAF Champions League
winners. They will open their Apertura 2010 tournament against Club América on Sunday.