The game wasn’t as close as the scoreline suggests, with Chivas notching a comprehensive win tonight against a thoroughly outclassed Galaxy team, which became the first American side to lose so far in SuperLiga.
The first goal came in the 59th minute when Francisco Rodriguez outjumped a ruck of players to latch onto an Omar Esparza cross.
The second came in the 82nd minute when Galaxy defender Abel Xavier couldn’t quite cut out a Ramon Morales cross that was met by substitute Omar Bravo, Chivas’ top scorer last season.
The Galaxy pulled one back in the 88th minute, when Rodriguez inadvertantly chested a hopeful cross into the path of Landon Donovan, who made no mistake from close range.
The Galaxy should have had another, but striker Carlos Parvon (who has been rather invisible so far in his short Galaxy career) put his shot over the bar from just five yards in the 77th minute.
Rodriguez was named Man of the Match.
After the game, Coach Frank Yallop said he was encouraged by his team’s second half showing.
“We had some chances to score, we fought back into the game,” he said. “We’re still growing as a unit. …I wouldn’t say it was a step back.”
Abel Xavier, who has emerged as a leader in marshalling the defense, said he was encouraged by the seven offside calls in the second half (it was actually five) that he believed illustrated improving organization at the back.
“We must believe we are strong and can match with any team,” he said, adding that many of the Galaxy’s problems are mental ones. “If you feel you are strong you don’t chase the game, you control the game.”
The crowd apparently filled in, too: 37,337 was the final attendance figure.
The result means the Galaxy sit second in SuperLiga Group B to Chivas, with Dallas third on two points and Pachuca trailing with just one point.
The final games in the group stage are set for Tuesday with the Galaxy on the road against Dallas and Chivas playing Pachuca in Denver.
Updated: Galaxy beat writer Billy Witz has a biting assessment: of the game.
Updated: The natives are restless.
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