The Los Angeles Galaxy looked like a totaly different team on Thursday night as they drew with arch-rivals Chivas USA 2-2 and won this year's SuperClasico. Chivas USA won last year's edition of the SuperClasico and the Galaxy were out for revenge.
This was the first game for the Galaxy since manger Alexi Lalas and head coach Ruud Gullit left the team earlier this week; it was also the first game with Cobi Jones as the intern head coach.
Things looked bright for the club as Landon Donovan received a long through ball from Chris Klein and fired a darter into the net near the far post on the 8th minute. This was Donovan’s fourteenth goal of the season and placed him as the league’s top scorer.
Minutes later, however, Justin Braun nearly equalized for Chivas; but he could not get his foot to connect with a cross sent into LA’s box by teammate Harris. Consequently, Braun had to leave the game with an injured ankle in the seventeenth minute. Roberto Nurse came on for Chivas in Braun’s place. After the substitution, the game opened up a bit as both teams were able to get shots off. However, none of the shots were able to find the back of the net and the Galaxy led the game 1-0 at the end of the half.
Chivas USA came out in the second half with all guns blazing. Within five minutes of the second half, Harris scored the equalizer for Chivas USA. It was Harris’s second goal of the season and his first goal since April 7. The score was now 1-1.
The Galaxy nearly scored once again a few minutes later when David Beckham allowed Donovan to get into the penalty box. Unfortunately, he was unable to shoot and forced to pass the ball to teammate Ely Allen. The rookie was able to get a shot off, but it went harmlessly wide of the right post. A few minutes later, Chivas was once again scoring a goal. This time, it came from former Galaxy midfielder, Nagamura, in the 63rd minute; and once again, Harris had a key part to play in the goal. He ran down the left flank and was able to get a pass off to Nagamura at the top of the goal area, where Nagamura snuck the ball past Cronin. The goal was Nagamura’s second of the season and his first against the Galaxy. The score was now: Chivas, 2 – Galaxy, 1. After the goal, Chivas replaced striker Savage with Maykel Galindo.
Chivas almost made the game 3-1 when Nurse headed the ball towards the goal. However, his shot bounced off the left post. In the 80th minute Jesse Marsch had to go off the field because of a jaw injury. Because Chivas had used all three of their substitutes, Chivas were down to ten men.
For the rest of the match, the Galaxy went on a furious counter-attack. Their efforts paid off in stoppage time, when Alan Gordon, who had come on as a sub for Alvaro Pires, headed the ball cleanly past the Chivas defense. That’s how the game finished, 2-2.
After the game, Cobi Jones, the intern coach, said: " I thought the team played very well, especially in the first half. We had plenty of opportunities to take the game and seal it in the first 45 minutes. We can out a little lackluster in the second half. About the first 10 minutes or so, we had a lot of difficulty, but overall, I'm very happy especially with the fight the guys showed to come back from being 2-1 down. There are some things that need to be looked just as far as that aspect - you don't ever want to fall behind when you have the lead already. Overall, the guys did well."
With the draw, LA continues to go on a eight-game winless streak. However, they managed to keep ahead of Chivas USA in the standings; thus, winning this year’s SuperClasico. The Galaxy must start winning if they are to have a chance to qualify for the MLS Cup playoffs.
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