Chivas USA saved their unbeaten home record when Claudio Suarez scored an 82nd minute penalty kick after Brown had brought down Maykel Galindo.
The goal was throughly deserved; Chivas USA had attacked relentlessly and were desperately unlucky not to get a goal in the 72nd minute when a Mendoza volley from close range hit the underside of the bar, yet somehow still didn’t go in.
Guzan secured the tie with an acrobatic fingertip save off a 25-yard Gutierrez blast in the 89th minute that was on its way into the net.
There was even more drama just before the final whistle when Blanco was brought down in the penalty box by Zotinca, but the referee awarded a corner much to the disgust of the Chicago bench.
Coach Juan Carlos Osorio was red carded apparently for not leaving the field while virulently protesting the tackle.
Cups of soft drinks and who knows what else rained down on Blanco as he waited to take the corner, which came to nothing.
Updated: Osorio didn’t speak to the media after the game, although it turned out he was more angry about a previous tackle than the one on Blanco.
Chivas USA midfielder Jesse Marsch, who had just written for this blog about some of the league’s worst unabashed divers, observed in the locker room that he may have to revise his list after dealing with Blanco “cheating all over the place.”
“I know he’s shifty and I know he’s faster than you think and I know he likes to draw contact and I know he likes to fall and he did all that tonight,” he said, adding this was the first Chivas USA home game he had experienced significant support for the opposing team.
“Blanco’s a big draw,” Marsch said. “And he’s a polarizing figure. It’s good for this league. I just wish he’d stay on his feet a little more.”
Did Chicago Assistant Coach Daryl Shore (who spoke for Osario) agree with the diving comment? No.
Claudio Suarez enjoyed scoring on that penalty in a soldout stadium (a real one not the pseudo ones the Galaxy have) with a crowd that reminded him of Mexico.
“Classico’s in Mexico have that kind of passion,” he said. “We gave the fans their money’s worth. It was a great show.”
It was sub Alex Zotinca who surreptitiously slapped Blanco around the back of the head to draw the retaliation that led to Blanco’s 85th minute yellow card, by the way.
And speaking of yellows: Chivas USA striker Maykel Gaylindo will miss the game next Saturday against Real Salt Lake after drawing a 54th minute yellow card.
A politically correct Blanco didn’t say much interesting in the locker room and denied he was guilty of diving.
“You guys saw the game, you saw all the kicks I was getting,” he said.
Fans who haven’t had enough can take in the reserve game at 10 a.m. Sunday on the sunken field near the tennis courts (take a right at the stop sign in front of the fountain).
The Palos Verdes Peninsula’s John Thorrington will play.
Thorrington has been taking things relatively easy since failing to hook on with either the Galaxy or Chivas USA before the season began. He has stayed fit playing with his brother’s club team, FRAM, which plays in Rolling Hills Estates on a superb private facility called Nansen Field (it’s where aging rocker Rod Stewart plays when he’s not marrying another young blond).
Thorrington said he was happy to return to Chicago, especially since the Fire had a new coach (Dave Sarachan had waived him).
“This was the only option I was willing to look into other than (playing in) LA,” he said.
Thorrington said he has recovered fully from the hamstring injury that restricted his playing time to just two games for the Fire last season.
Updated: Game story is here.