Chivas USA has been giving up so many late goals, and losing so many points because of it, that the finish of Monday's MLS Reserve League match at San Jose had to come as a most pleasant surprise.
Cesar Romero netted his fourth Reserve League goal in the third minute of stoppage to give the Goats (1-1-1) a 1-1 draw with the Earthquakes at their practice facility.
Romero, who has 11 goals in all games for Chivas -- preseason included -- curled a free kick into the upper-right corner from the right flank as the Goats climbed into third place in the insanely tight West Division, in which all six clubs are separated by two points.
San Jose (1-1-2) scored at the start -- Chino Hills' (and UC Riverside's) Cesar Diaz Pizarro beating goalkeeper Tim Melia from Sercan Guvenisik's feed in the second minute -- but were down to 10 men by the end, following Jean-Marc Alexandre's second yellow card in the 86th.
Chivas scored early (Jose Erik Correa, fourth minute) and San Jose late (Alan Gordon, 88th) in Sunday's Major League Soccer meeting.
WORTH NOTING: Holding midfielder Oswaldo Minda, who missed Sunday's game on a yellow-cards suspension, went the full 90 for the Goats. ... Rauwshan McKenzie, who missed his first MLS game of the year Sunday, captained the reserves. ... Mexican trialists Jorge Marquez and Javier Mena saw time in the second half. ... Home Grown signing Marky Delgado, who isn't eligible to play for the first team until August, was stationed at right back. ... The Raul to Chivas rumors? Forget them. The Spanish great confirmed Sunday he is joining Al Sadd in Qatar.
MLS RESERVE LEAGUE
Earthquakes Training Facility (San Jose)
San Jose Earthquakes 1, Chivas USA 1
SJ -- Cesar Diaz Pizarro (Sercan Guvenisik) 2
C -- Cesar Romero 93+
San Jose Earthquakes: David Bingham; Jed Zayner, Brad Ring, Ike Opara, Josh Suggs; Sam Garza (Sam Cronin, 57), Anthony Ampaipitakwong, Jean-Marc Alexandre, Ellis McLoughlin; Sercan Guvenisik (Brian Randall, 71), Cesar Diaz Pizarro. Unused subs: Evan Newton, Jacob Hustedt, Raul Cardona, Julio Cervantes, Ivan Yanez.
Chivas USA: Tim Melia; Marco Delgado, Rauwshan McKenzie, Scott Gordon, Jorge Villafaña; Oswaldo Minda; Ryan Smith (Cesar Romero, 34), Blair Gavin (Jorge Marquez, 61), Paolo Cardozo, Laurent Courtois (Javier Mena 74); Casey Townsend. Unused sub: Patrick McLain.
Yellow cards: Villafaña 37, McLoughlin 44, Alexandre 46+, 86, Cronin 58, Marquez 75. Red card: Alexandre 86.
Referee: Vicente Cortes. Att.: NA.
1. Portland 2-1-0 (5-1 GF-GA) 6 points
2. San Jose 1-1-2 (4-4) 5
3. Chivas USA 1-1-1 (5-4) 4
4. Galaxy 1-1-1 (4-5) 4
5. Seattle 1-2-1 (5-7) 4
6. Vancouver 1-1-1 (3-5) 4