Chivas USA-San Jose Earthquakes wrap

Chivas USA 3 San Jose Earthquakes 2

Phil Collin filed the game story.

“You got to win to get love,” someone named RB had scrawled on the Chivas USA locker room chalkboard.

The quote from “Talledega Nights” by Ricky Bobby was actually written by SK – Sacha Kljestan.

And the love was flowing in the locker room in a game that saw a resilient, confident Chivas USA bounce back from the nightmare in Houston to beat San Jose.

Sure, the Earthquakes are no Dynamo, but Chivas USA used swift, precise counter attacks, intelligent raids by the likes of Mariano Trujillo, creativity and imagination by Jesus Padilla and Kljestan and a cohesive midfield that included two rookies out of Akron as well as a dependable backstop in veteran Zach Thornton to pry apart San Jose. Thornton had four crucial second half saves.

It was the sort of quick, attacking soccer Coach Martin Vasquez had promised – but not delivered – until Saturday night.

“Finally, we put together 90 minutes of the way we want to play. We earned the win,” he said.

“Tonight everything finally clicked,” said striker Justin Braun who rose to score a well-taken 54th minute goal, glancing the ball with his head into the corner of the net. “It’s the style of soccer you’re going to see from us more.”

It was attractive soccer in a compelling game that was a pleasure to watch and deserved a larger crowd than the 14,389 on hand.

Notable: When Michael Umana came off in the second half with a mild ankle sprain he was replaced by Carlos Borja who made his MLS debut.

Quotable:

“We went out and pressured them a lot from the beginning,” said Kljestan. “We made them cough up a bunch of balls down the field. And when we had the ball we were pretty happy – we played with joy as Martin likes to say. We moved the ball around the field a lot and it felt good.”

Vasquez was pleased with Kljestan’s performance:

“He’s starting to respond to the responsibility that he has on the field and off the field as our captain, as our leader, as our playmaker, as the guy whose going to make things happen for us. He was able to dictate the pace (of the game).”

Here’s Vasquez on the performance of Mariano Trujillo:

“He got the most touches out of everybody and he was our playmaker on the right side. (I was) very happy with his performance.”

Jonathan Bornstein addressed the difference from last week:

“We kept telling everyone that all we need to do is compete. But guys weren’t even showing up to run hard, to battle for each other, so if we do that first of all the soccer will take over.”

Here’s Bornstein on the zippy pair of Ben Zemanski and Blair Gavin:

“I’ve always liked them in the middle (together). In preseason I saw them play together and I just think they know how to play together … coming from Akron. They were doing really well there together. It’s good to see the two young guys can play like that. I was even thinking during the game, ‘man, these two young guys are going to be pretty good players.’ It kind of lifted my game a little bit.”

And yeah, Braun was well aware this was the first time since October 2008 the team had scored three goals: “I know,” he said. “We hear about it all the time.”

Not anymore.

Braun Twittered:

Huge win for us tonight, team played with lots of heart. Things finally came together!!

Time for a new slogan?

How about – “Chivas USA: We piss excellence in the morning.”

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group columnist and blogger Nick Green writes about soccer at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at www.insidesocal.com/soccer and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at www.insidesocal.com/beer. Cheers!