Recap: Chivas USA Upset First Place Crew
Chivas USA extended its MLS unbeaten streak to four games on Saturday evening, earning an impressive 3-1 victory over
Eastern Conference leaders Columbus at The Home Depot Center on Saturday night.
The win was Chivas USA’s fifth so far this season, and takes the team to 18 points from 17 matches. Columbus, meanwhile, continues to struggle on the road with only two wins in eight matches away from Ohio.
Buoyed by their first week of training without a mid-week tournament game since the MLS World Cup break in June, Chivas USA charged out
of the gate early and never looked back. The Goats had finally discovered the team chemistry that they so sorely lacked for much of the first half of the season.
After knocking on the door a few times in the first half-hour, the home side finally broke through in the 37th minute thanks to a clever service from newcomer Rodolfo Espinoza. Receiving a long ball on the left flank from Darío Delgado, Espinoza outpaced Crew right back Danny O’Rourke
and sent a high cross into the Columbus six-yard-line. Braun was there to meet it, leaping over Andy Iro to head the ball into the right side of the
net for his seventh goal of the season and a 1-0 Chivas lead.
The Goats would double that lead just eight minutes later on a play that began with a long punt from Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy. Crew defender Shaun Francis tracked back to clear the ball out of his own penalty area, but his chest-trap fell a step too far ahead of him and into the path of a charging Gavin. The Chivas USA rookie deftly chipped the ball over the head of goalkeeper William Hesmer for a 2-0 Chivas USA lead at halftime.
The Crew came out of the lockerroom for the second half with renewed swagger and attacked in numbers. The Goats’ backline would weather the storm, however, frustrating Columbus with swarming defense and rugged midfield support.
Any momentum Columbus had was finally laid to rest in the 53rd minute thanks to Chivas USA right back Carlos Borja. Ben Zemanski would
ignite the effort with a lofted ball into the Crew penalty area. Giancarlo Maldonado skillfully chested down the ball into the path of Borja, who smashed it into the lower right corner of the net for 3-0.
Columbus would net a consolation goal in the 88th minute when substitute striker Jason Garey chipped a ball into the Chivas area from the right flank that found Steven Lenhart in the air. Without missing a beat, Lenhart calmly headed a high looping ball that a charging Dan Kennedy could only turn to watch trickle across his goal line.
Chivas USA will now prepare for a trip to Toronto next weekend for a visit with former coach Preki in Canada. Columbus stays on the road, travelling to Philadelphia for their first-ever clash with the Union.
CHV -- Justin Braun 7 (Rodolfo Espinoza 1, Dario Delgado 1) 37
CHV -- Blair Gavin 3 (unassisted) 45
CHV -- Carlos Borja 1 (Giancarlo Maldonado 1, Ben Zemanski 1) 53
CLB -- Steven Lenhart 2 (Jason Garey 2) 88
CLB -- Shaun Francis (caution; Reckless Tackle) 85
Columbus Crew -- William Hesmer, Danny O'Rourke, Chad Marshall, Andy Iro (Steven Lenhart 56), Shaun Francis, Emmanuel Ekpo, Eddie Gaven (Robbie Rogers 17), Adam Moffat, Brian Carroll, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Emilio Renteria (Jason Garey 65).
Chivas USA -- Dan Kennedy, Carlos Borja, Michael Umana, Dario Delgado, Ante Jazic, Ben Zemanski, Paulo Nagamura, Blair Gavin (Michael Lahoud 57), Rodolfo Espinoza (Osael Romero 85), Justin Braun (Jesus Padilla 80), Giancarlo Maldonado.
Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Referee's Assistants: Chris Strickland; George Gansner
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal
Time of Game: 1:52
Weather: Partly cloudy and 67 degrees