CARSON, Calif. -- On a picture perfect afternoon for soccer, Chivas USA, winless in their first two outings, hosted the surging New York Red Bulls, who were coming off of a gritty effort against Seattle Sounders FC. Zach Thornton returned to the pitch after missing the first two games of the season with a hip flexor injury. Maicon Correa (formerly Maicon Santos) and Chukwudi Chijindu both received their first starts of the season, while Maykel Gakindo and Osael Romero sat the pine as Chivas USA tried to find their first goal of the year.
Both teams opened the game in a 4-4-2 with Jonathan Bornstein starting on the left flank, matched up against speedy Dane Richards.
Early on, both teams had kept possession well in the middle of the field as they tried to find the final ball into their forwards. At the 10 minute mark, a Bornstein cross to a surging Chijindu just missed the mark in an exchange that missed the crossbar by a foot. Early on in the game, Bornstein looked to be a long range target for the Chivas USA midfield as they tried to push Richards back to keep him out of the attack.
At the 16 minute mark, a Joel Lindpere corner found Macoumba Kandji as Zach Thornton lost his footing. Kandji headed what looked to be a clear goal that was blocked at the goal line by the Chivas USA defense. Moments later, a 40-yard free kick by Sacha Kljestan to Bornstein sailed just wide of the mark as Bornstein stretched for the header.
Both teams found gaps early on in the half as they looked to take an early advantage.
For New York, Juan Pablo Angel and Kandji worked diligently off the ball trying to put themselves in position for an opportunity, but the final ball was lacking. Angel patrolled the midfield as he looked to spark runs by other Red Bull players early on.
A Lindpere blind cross to Kandji resulted in an opportunity that sailed just high in the 32nd minute. The shot flew past the outstretched arm of Zach Thornton but also sailed just high of the cross bar.
As the first half approached its conclusion, Ante Jazic was helped off the pitch after picking up an injury to his right leg. The injury prompted Martin Vasquez to immediately call Jesus Padilla’s number as Bornstein moved to left back while Padilla lined up on the left flank.
As the half wound to a close, a Lindpere free kick found the head of rookie sensation Tim Ream, though Thornton proved to be up to the task.
Both teams impressed with precision passing and off the ball movement in the midfield during the first half. Chivas USA looked to create opportunities through long range crosses and quick passing, while New York has shown brilliant off the ball movement.
Defensively for New York, Tim Ream and Mike Petke withstood an onslaught from Chivas USA with composure, though there were two near misses at the end of the half.
Dario Delgado, Chivas USA’s newest addition, combined well with fellow center back Micahel Umaña to keep Juan Pablo Angel and Macoumba Kandji off the score sheet. At midfield, Kljestan was on target with passes all over the field, though the Goats' most dangerous threat came Jonathan Bornstein until he was forced to the backline after the Jazic injury.
For New York, Joel Lindpere impressed with dangerous passing that has kept the Chivas backline on their toes.
In spite of all the excitement, there was only one shot on target between both teams after the first 45.
The second half kicked off with no substitutes on either side.
In the 47th minute, a Jesus Padilla shot deflected off the post. As Bouna Coundoul tried to control it, he knocked it into his own goal. Chivas USA’s first goal of the season set off a raucous reaction from their fans who were still making their way back to their seats.
In the 54th minute, newcomer Salou Ibrahim began to make his way to the third official as he replaced Seth Stammler, who had a quiet afternoon. Moments later, Jesus Padilla forced Coundoul into action as once again in an effort that was saved by the diving goalkeeper.
Maykel Galindo came on for Maicon Correa as Chivas USA looked to increase the pressure up front with added pace, in the 58th minute.
In the 62nd minute, Tim Ream showed his poise as Maykel Galindo tried to go around him, matching him step-for step on the end line.
At the other end, Chukwudi Chijindu fired a shot that shook the side of the net past an outstretched Coundoul, in the 65th minute. Two minutes later, Angel had his most dangerous opportunity off of a Lindpere corner, sending it just wide.
In the 80th minute, Conor Chinn entered the fray as a final effort to generate some offense for New York. Chivas USA looked content to sit back with six defenders to preserve the victory.
New York looked to Tim Ream to distribute an over the top of a congested Chivas USA backline. Lindpere, who looked up to the task all afternoon, became fatigued as the match drew to a close. Padilla’s strong challenge on Tony Tchani, who entered in the 77th minute, resulted in the second yellow card of the game.
In injury time, Padilla smashed home a strong right-footed shot on goal from outside the penalty box off of a Zach Thonton assist which put Chivas USA up 2-0, sealing their first win of the season.
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