Here are the results that mattered Saturday for Chivas USA:
Chivas USA 2 Kansas City Wizards 1
Houston Dynamo 1 Toronto FC 1
Colorado Rapids 5 Red Bull New York 4
Real Salt Lake 3 San Jose Earthquakes 2
Dallas plays D.C. United at noon Sunday
(Just for the sake of completeness, Sigi Schmid’s Columbus Crew beat the New England Revolution, 1-0, and lead the league. Let’s hope he doesn’t get fired)
Here’s how the Western Conference shakes out so far in the 30-game season:
Team GP PTS
Houston Dynamo 25 40
Chivas USA 26 36
Colorado Rapids 26 34
Real Salt Lake 26 34
FC Dallas 25 30
Los Angeles Galaxy 26 29
San Jose Earthquakes 25 29
Of the last four regular season Chivas USA games left, the next two are on the road (Saturday at D.C. United, Oct. 11 at the San Jose Earthquakes) and the last two at home (Oct. 19 vs. the Colorado Rapids, Oct. 25 vs. the Houston Dynamo).
Just to expand on what eagle-eyed beat reporter Phil Collin noted in his gamer: Victorine spells his first name “Sasha,” while Kljestan spells his “Sacha;” for some reason both were spelled the way Mr. Klejstan spells his name over both players’ lockers. (I empathize with the locker room staff, BTW; you just know this reporter and others are likely to make the same mistake).
Peki on the team effort:
“I give my guys an incredible amount of credit. Because they fought and they’re fighting the whole year. They deserve what they’re getting. They put themselves in a good position. Hopefully we’ll take care of the business in the rest of the season.
On Sasha Victorine:
“He fits good in our system. He plays the ball on the ground. He sees things around him. He’s a smart soccer player. He can score goals. He’s good on set pieces. You could see in the 72nd minute he starts cramping, but he stuck to it. He has a good mentality that fits our group.”
*Striker Maykel Galindo was pleased to get his first minutes since mid-July when he came on as a 77th minute sub for Alecko Eskandarian.
“Little by little I’ll keep improving and hopefully I’ll be fine for the end of the season,” he said. “I feel a little bit of pain, but I think it’s (from) the surgery I had.”
*Striker Alecko Eskandarian, who now has two goals in two straight games (“a streak,” insisted the scribe seeking an angle next to me in the press box) sounded relieved he’s continuing to work his way back into match fitness:
“I’m just very happy to be back playing. At the end of the day it was very, very frustrating to go through what I went through: six months of not knowing what was wrong with me and then doctors couldn’t find what was wrong with me and me questioning myself. And then finally with the exploratory surgery finding that my groin was torn. When they fixed that it was a huge weight off my shoulders. I put it all behind me and focused on salvaging the season and really trying to help my teammates. A lot of the guys, since I’m new here, didn’t know what I could bring to the team or if I could contribute so every day I’ve just been fighting for the respect of my teammates and seeing if I can help this team.
“I feel better every day. Obviously I’m not 100 percent and my fitness still needs work, my touches, my sharpness. When you’re out for so long you take for granted the little good habits you need to get into.”
Finally, the Chivas USA reserves play a make-up game 10 a.m. today (Sunday) against the Galaxy reserves on Field 4 at Home Depot Center. Originally scheduled for Aug. 15, the game was postponed due to injuries and international call-ups. The Chivas USA reserves are coming off a 3-1 loss against Real Salt Lake on Sunday, which gave them a 1-3-3 record.
I had a pretty good conversation with Sasha Victorine after the game, too, and I’ll post that Sunday.