In the Battle for Los Angeles, there was no logical reason why Chivas USA should have walked away from the Home Depot Center with a point on Sunday. Injuries and expulsions had the Goats playing shorthanded against the Los Angeles Galaxy, and yet at the final whistle Chivas inexplicably clawed their way to the 1-1 result to keep in the thick of the Western Conference standings.
Los Angeles controlled the proceedings almost from start to finish. A physical contest from the outset, the match took its toll quickly on Chivas USA. An 18th minute collision between Galaxy midfielder Mike Magee and Chivas midfielder Oswaldo Minda saw the latter depart with a hamstring strain. Marvin Iraheta would come in for Minda and promptly pick up a yellow card for his troubles.
Referee Ricardo Salazar was forced to reach into his pocket to dispense discipline four times during the first 40 minutes. The last of the cards out of his pocket during the half set the already reeling Chivas side down to ten men as Salazar showed red to center back Joaquin Velasquez. It was a questionable punishment, as Velasquez was penalized for getting tangled up with Colin Clark over a 50/50 ball at midfield.
But the punishment stuck, forcing Chivas coach Chelis to shift his formation around for better defensive strength against the waves of Galaxy attack. The retooled lineup showed more verve in the second half, though it was still the Galaxy who were getting the majority of the chances. The “home” side would finally crack the Chivas defense, as Jack McBean — himself a second-half substitute — headed a deflected Magee shot toward goal. Goats goalkeeper Dan Kennedy got his fingertips to the ball but was unable to prevent the go-ahead goal.
For all intents and purposes it appeared the match was over and the two-time defending MLS champions were on their way to a second consecutive regular-season victory. But the Galaxy relaxed, allowing Eric Avila to find Carlos Borja down the right flank. Laying in a well-placed cross, Borja found Carlos Alvarez at the far post. Alvarez, the second overall pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, looked like a seasoned veteran as he tapped the cross past Galaxy keeper Carlo Cudicini for the late equalizer in the 89th minute.
The late score forced a draw — just the second time in the past nine meetings that Chivas USA had managed to prevent a loss to the Galaxy. The elder statesman in Los Angeles soccer, the Galaxy are now 16-4-6 all time against Chivas.
CHIVAS USA @ LOS ANGELES GALAXY
Home Depot Center
March 17, 2013
- 83′ — LA/Jack McBean (unassisted)
- 89′ — CHV/Carlos Alvarez (Carlos Borja, Eric Avila)
- LA (4-4-2): Carlo Cudicini; Todd Dunivant (Michael Stephens/77′), A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez, Sean Franklin; Colin Clark (Leonardo/45′), Marcelo Sarvas, Juninho, Mike Magee; Robbie Keane, Jose Villareal (Jack McBean/64′)
- CHV (3-4-3): Dan Kennedy; Bobby Burling, Joaquin Velasquez, Mario de Luna; Josue Soto, Oswaldo Minda (Marvin Iraheta/18′), Edgar Mejia, Eric Avila; Julio Morales (Carlos Borja/45′), Juan Agudelo, Jose Correa (Carlos Alvarez/45′)