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Played
July 31, 2010 10:30 PM EDT
Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif.
Referee:‬ Hilario Grajeda‎
 
37′ Justin Braun
45′ Blair Gavin
 
53′ Carlos Borja
 
Top of the Match
Justin Braun
Justin Braun
Chivas USA
G. Maldonado
G. Maldonado
Chivas USA
Flop of the Match
E. Rentería
E. Rentería
Columbus Crew

Chivas USA 3-1 Columbus Crew: Goats Thump Lackluster Crew At Home

By Manuel Carrera

Blair Gavin, Rodolfo Espinoza, Chivas USA, MLS (Getty Images)
Chivas USA and Columbus Crew faced off in a match featuring teams at opposite ends of the table midway through the season. Though Chivas USA have been better as of late, undefeated in their previous three matches, they anchored the Western Conference table and faced a Crew squad that featured two starters in the All-Star match against Manchester United.

First Half

Giancarlo Maldonado provided the first threat of the match eight minutes in as he and Justin Braun sped toward Will Hesmer’s goal. Though Braun was open to his right, Maldonado opted for a cheeky flick that Hesmer controlled without issue.

Five minutes later, Guillermo Barros Schelloto played a cross in from the left toward Eddie Gaven. In a midair collision, Gaven’s head hit goalkeeper Dan Kennedy’s knee. Kennedy immediately signaled the sideline for help as Gaven struggled to make it to his feet. Following the injury, Robbie Rogers replaced the injured Gaven in the 17th minute.

Chivas USA attacked the Crew once more in the 20th minute, as Justin Braun rushed by a sleeping Columbus backline, only to have his shot turned away by Danny O’Rourke. Though  Columbus had the majority of through the first 25 minutes, the Goats took advantage of counterattacking opportunities to create the more dangerous situations early on.

In the 37th minute, Justin Braun opened the scoring for Chivas USA as he met a Rodolfo Espinoza cross from the left and buried a header in the right corner of Hesmer’s goal. Following the Goat’s previous effort on goal, Columbus attempted to maintain possession, but seemed to struggle to create a dangerous opportunity to keep the Goats at home.

In the 45th minute, off of a powerful Kennedy goal kick, Blair Gavin chased the ball into the Crew penalty area, where Shaun Francis attempted to chest it to Hesmer. Gavin got a foot on  the ball and flicked it in for his third goal of the season.

At the interval, it was evident that the injury to Gaven had taken a toll on the Crew as they struggled to create anything that could inconvenience a Chivas USA which has endured a difficult season. Schelotto played deeper to try to conjure some of his magic, but Chivas USA made the most of Crew errors and made them pay.



Second Half

No changes for either squad at the half as Columbus came out of the tunnel with a greater sense of urgency after a lackluster first half. The Crew appeared more dangerous in the attack, and hustled much more after loose balls in the midfield. It was all for naught, though, as Maldonado chested a ball to Carlos Borja who smashed the first goal of his young career from 14 yards out.

In a tactical change, Robert Warzycha substituted defender Andy Iro for striker Steven Lenhart in the 56th minute in search of a goal, while risking an even larger blowout with a three-man backline. In the 65th minute Warzycha brought in Jason Garey for Emilio Renteria, but
neither change altered the proceedings because the rotation for Columbus was too slow against a younger, more athletic Chivas USA squad who patiently waited for counterattacking opportunities.

Columbus’ subdued effort may be due in part to fatigue, but Warzycha clearly sent the message that he wanted more out of the Eastern Conference leaders.

In the 88th minute, Columbus finally got on the scoreboard as Steven Lenhart was left unmarked in the area and coolly flicked a shot over Kennedy for the final goal of the match. The goal was the culmination of a fantastic individual effort by Lenhart who, along with Emmanuel Ekpo, did not relent in his time on the pitch.

The win leaves Chivas USA undefeated in the last four matches, their longest such streak this season. The Crew meanwhile, left Los Angeles having given up a season-high three goals in an ugly loss. Chivas USA will travel to BMO field where they will meet ex-manager Preki for the first time since he left the squad to take over Toronto FC, while Columbus travel to Philadelphia for their first meeting with the Union.

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Chivas USA

1
Dan Kennedy
Goalkeeper
0.00
-
D. Delgado
Defender
0.00
6
Ante Jazic
Defender
0.00
-
M. Umaña
Defender
0.00
14
Ben Zemanski
Midfielder
0.00
9
G. Maldonado
Striker
0.00
17
Justin Braun
Striker
37′ 80′
0.00
18
Blair Gavin
Midfielder
45′ 56′
0.00
5
Carlos Borja
Midfielder
53′
0.00
-
R. Espinoza
Midfielder
85′
0.00
6
Paulo Nagamura
Midfielder
0.00

Columbus Crew

0.00
1
Will Hesmer
Goalkeeper
0.00
14
0.00
20
0.00
6
Adam Moffat
Midfielder
0.00
12
Eddie Gaven
Midfielder
17′
0.00
20
0.00
6
Andy Iro
Defender
56′
0.00
-
0.00
7
Brian Carroll
Midfielder
0.00
17
Emmanuel Ekpo
Midfielder

Substitutes

31
Kevin Guppy
Goalkeeper
0.00
-
0.00
-
Jorge Flores
Midfielder
0.00
-
0.00
13
Michael Lahoud
Midfielder
56′
0.00
-
J. Padilla
Midfielder
80′
0.00
-
Osael Romero
Midfielder
85′
0.00

Substitutes

0.00
30
0.00
2
0.00
-
0.00
16
0.00
-
0.00
-
0.00
14
Robbie Rogers
Midfielder
17′
 
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Results
 
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
E. Torres E. Torres
Striker
Chivas USA
6 3
Clint Dempsey Clint Dempsey
Striker
Seattle Sounders
6 1
V. Sánchez V. Sánchez
Striker
Colorado
4 3
Federico Higuaín Federico Higuaín
Striker
Columbus Crew
4 2
Dominic Dwyer Dominic Dwyer
Striker
Sporting KC
4 1