Chivas USA win for the first time.SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- A late tap in from Mariano Trujillo proved the difference as Chivas USA battled to its first win of the season over a sluggish San Jose Earthquakes side. Chris Wondolowski headed in the opener for the home side, but former Earthquake Alejandro Moreno equalized with the last kick of the first half.
The Earthquakes looked sloppy on defense and were frustrated by a very organized defensive performance from Robin Fraser’s side. Chivas, meanwhile, was content to patiently pick its spaces going forward and struck when the time was right.
The two teams kicked off cautiously, with both teams probing, but not committing too many numbers forward. Chivas was more content to bypass the midfield and look for their forward pair of Alejandro Moreno and Marcos Mondaini with direct balls. The Earthquakes, meanwhile had little success in the early minutes breaking down the visiting defense
The first good chance for either came on the break with a tame Ben Zemanski header taking a deflection off Chris Wondolowski, but the ball rolled onto the post and into the arms of a grateful Jon Busch. Immediately after, though, the Earthquakes struck.
Ramiro Corrales whiffed a clear chance from a Bobby Convey corner, but recovered to put a cross in to Khari Stephenson. His looping header was off target, but Chris Wondolowksi beat Dan Kennedy to it and was able to gently head in from close range to put the Earthquakes ahead on 17 minutes.
The goal saw Chivas USA increased pressure somewhat, but the team could not take advantage of a slip from Ramiro Corrales to create a clear scoring chance. Chivas would have had its equalizer were it not for a quality reaction save from Jon Busch on Nick LaBrocca’s snap header, the chance again coming down San Jose’s left flank.
With Chivas USA sensing some weaknesses in the Earhtuqakes’ defemse, they continued to pressure. Despite sloppy defending, San Jose was still able to minimize the number of efforts the Chivas players were able to put on target until the very last kick of the half, when Moreno glanced home a curling free kick from Heath Pearce past a motionless Earthquakes defense, giving the visitors a deserved equalizer.
The Earthquakes came out of the locker room having shaken off a lot of the rust from the first half, with looking dangerous down the flanks. There were slight penalty appeals after a coming together in the Chivas box, but referee Jair Marrufo waved play on.
Chivas USA had its own opportunity when Mondaini found himself clear thanks to a taut Nick LaBrocca cross, but Jon Busch made a smart save with his leg to deny the former Boca Juniors man. Some sloppy defending on the hour mark set up former Earthquakes man Simon Elliott, but his shot sailed over.
Despite an array of substitutions from both sides, including a season debut for Earthquakes striker Steven Lenhart both teams struggled to deal with fatigue. Anthony Ampaipitakwong provided a spark off the bench for the some side, while Justin Braun injected some fresh energy into the visiting attack.
The Earthquakes were leaving swathes of space as they pushed forward looking for a winner, and Chivas finally exploited it in the 85th minute. Justin Braun went free down the right hand side and fired in a shot that was parried by Busch, but only into the path of substitute Mariano Trujillo. The veteran Mexican was left with the easiest of finishes for his first-ever MLS goal in the 85th minute.
Lenhart saw a glancing header from a corner bounce wide, while Wondolowski barely missed the connection with a cross from Ampaipitakwong as the Earthquakes poured forward in search of at least a point. However Chivas USA’s numbers in the box proved too much for the Earthquakes to overcome and the visitors held on for their first win of the season.
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