Two goals in three minutes to end the game pretty much summed up Chivas USA’s superiority and the Galaxy’s season.
Galaxy reject Laurent Merlin got the final goal in stoppage time from a poor Troy Roberts clearance for his first-ever MLS goal.
Panchito Mendoza had scored the second from a Sacha Kljestan pass.
The result gives Chivas USA (13-6-4) sole possession of first place in the Western Conference and goalkeeper Brad Guzan his MLS-leading 11th shutout, a single season record for Chivas USA. Chivas USA are undefeated in 11 games at home.
They also won the four-game SuperClassico series with two wins to the Galaxy’s one (there was also a tie in there).
The Galaxy (4-12-5) slip further into the mire.
The game was tight, with few chances, yet not surprisingly the opposing coaches had opposing views.
“I think the result flatters them, to be honest,” said Galaxy Coach Frank Yallop. “But a 3-0 loss is a 3-0 loss.”
Still, Chivas USA had 10 shots on goal to the Galaxy’s two.
“We created far more chances, we were more dangerous,” said Chivas USA Coach Preki. “These kinds of games around the world are always tense games, they’re not the prettiest games.”
Goalkeeper Brad Guzan was savoring the shutout record, especially given the sharp contrast with the team’s dire debut season.
“That first year was a tough season for us,” he said. “To be here for those tough times … it makes it so much sweeter.”
Merlin, whose mother and father are visting from France for a month and were in the stands to see him score, was positively bursting with pride to have scored against his old employer.
“It’s especially great to score against them,” he said. “I wanted to prove to them I could have done the same for them.”
Galaxy goalkeeper Joe Cannon is now tasting the humiliation Chivas USA formerly felt.
“The painful thing for us is to be part of an LA team that lost the classico for the first time,” he said. “That’s embarassing.”
Abel Xavier looked sharp after the game as usual, but he wasn’t in a good mood.
“I just don’t like losing the way we are,” he said. “To lose is for losers.”
But he wasn’t about to accept the blame for Razov’s goal.
“It was difficult to track him and he was clever to put the ball in the net,” Xavier said. “As a defender it’s very frustrating for me when we concede a lot of goals. It’s killing me inside.”
Yallop avoided talking about Vagenas’ payback to Jesse Marsch, saying he wanted his players to win the “first tackle” (hmmm).
Marsch, his usual animated self in the locker room, wasn’t as reticent.
“He got me pretty bad,” Marsch said. “He said it was just a clumsy tackle. Right away, I thought ‘was this for Beckham?’”
Yeah, Jesse, it was.
There were a couple of notable appearances tonight on and off the field.
Morrissey was on the sidelines in a Chivas USA shirt (that’s way cooler than Tom Cruise). And Izzy Sesay became the youngest player ever to don a Galaxy shirt in an MLS game when he came on for the last minute.
A final postscript: a comparison of the signs in the opposing locker rooms says a lot about these teams.
This is the Chivas USA sign: “It’s amazing what you can accomplish when no-one cares who gets the credit.”
The more anonymous Chivas USA players perform as a team; Xavier pointed out the Galaxy could do with a little more “team bonding,” a “buzz between players.”
This is the Galaxy sign: “The only thing we play for here are the jersey and championship.”
At this point they might want to try playing for pride — and each other.
Full game details here.