CARSON -- Chivas USA ended the most painful drought in club history Saturday night, beating its hated rival for the first time since 2007, but more than that, the Goats offered a tantalizing glimpse at what their future could look like.
Juan Agudelo, acquired in a trade Thursday from the New York Red Bulls, made a fine impression in his debut, teaming up front with Jose Erik Correa and Miller Bolaños to create an attack that, once everyone is on the same page, could lead to something very special.
The Goats dictated play most of the first half and, with new defender Danny Califf anchoring a fine backline performance, held off a resurgent Galaxy after halftime to claim a 1-0 triumph before a sellout crowd of 18,800 at Home Depot Center.
The goal came on a 72nd-minute penalty kick by Correa, who had to take it twice -- the first was waved off when Jorge Villafaña encroached before the shot -- firing both to virtually the same spot.
That's two goals Chivas (4-6-1, 13 points) has scored at home this year, both on penalties, but this one meant a lot more, giving the club its first home victory in six tries.
That it came against the Galaxy (3-6-2, 11 points) made it all the more spectacular. L.A.'s unbeaten streak against its cross-stadium rival had reached 12 games, with victories in the last five meetings and in the last six regular-season encounters.
“It's big,” said Chivas coach Robin Fraser, a former Galaxy star. “I think I underestimated the level of rivalry between the two teams when I first got here. I was surprised by the nature of the comments after our first game last year, and it was very evident that there is very little respect for this club [from the other side]. We talked a lot during the week that the only way to get respect is to go out and earn it and I thought they did a good job of that tonight.”
Chivas came closest to scoring in the first half -- Bolaños hit the base of the right post from 24 yards after stripping the ball from Juninho near midfield in the 34th minute -- and got big back-to-back saves from goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, on Pat Noonan and Kyle Nakazawa, five minutes into the second half -- and got the only goal following a rather odd play.
Oswaldo Minda, returning from a yellow-card suspension, lofted the ball into the Galaxy goalmouth, and goalkeeper Brian Perk leapt over Agudelo to knock the ball away. As both crumpled to the ground, it fell to Correa, who volleyed sharply past A.J. DeLaGarza and at former Chivas defender David Junior Lopes, who was standing on the goal line.
The ball caromed off Lopes' left arm. Referee Mark Geiger showed him the red carded and gave Chivas the spot kick.
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena had no problem with the call -- “That was an appropriate penalty and send-off,” he said -- but Lopes said he couldn't get out of the way.
Was it a fair call?
“It's complicated, those things,” he said. “I don't want to say yes or no, but it went straight to my hand. I wasn't trying to put my hand on the ball, it just went straight to my hand. ... I'm not sure who's fault it was. I guess it's my fault, because the ball did hit my hand, and I'm very sad about it.”
The Galaxy was without Robbie Keane, who sat out because of a hamstring strain -- it was to be his final game before departing Sunday to join Ireland's national team preparations for the European Championship -- and David Beckham started on the bench after an afternoon arrival from England, where spent a few days on carting the Olympic flame from Athens to Britain.
Beckham came on in the 74th minute and immediately added a spark for L.A., nearly connecting with Chad Barrett on a long ball to the left post -- Califf dived to head it from danger -- then testing Kennedy after a corner kick was knocked back out to him.
The Galaxy's winless streak reached five games, and if Portland beats Chicago on Sunday, they will fall into last place in the Western Conference. They are not doing enough when opportunities arrive.
“I think on the night, we probably created more chances than the other team,” Arena said. “The chances you get you've got to take advantage of. We had some decent chances tonight. Not a whole lot of them -- neither team did -- but you have to take your chances.”
Fraser liked what he saw out of a 4-3-3 alignment, with Agudelo and Bolaños in support of Correa up top -- and Nick LaBrocca and Alejandro Moreno adding to the mix from midfield. It was dynamic, and if more chances should have come from it, well, give it time.
“We were very close to having several chances, and this is still a relatively new group,” Fraser said. “I look at tonight as a starting point of where we’re headed.”
MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
Home Depot Center (Carson)
Chivas USA 1, Galaxy 0
C -- Jose Erik Correa pen. 72
Chivas USA: Dan Kennedy; James Riley, Rauwshan McKenzie, Danny Califf, Ante Jazic; Nick LaBrocca (Blair Gavin, 90), Oswaldo Minda, Alejandro Moreno; Miller Bolaños (Jorge Villafaña, 60), Jose Erik Correa, Juan Agudelo (Juan Pablo Angel, 76). Unused subs: Paolo Cardozo, Tim Melia, Peter Vagenas, John Alexander Valencia.
Galaxy: Brian Perk; Sean Franklin, David Junior Lopes, A.J. DeLaGarza, Todd Dunivant; Mike Magee (Chad Barrett, 78), Juninho, Marcelo Sarvas, Kyle Nakazawa (David Beckham, 74); Landon Donovan, Pat Noonan (Edson Buddle, 60). Unused subs: Bill Gaudette, Bryan Jordan, Leonardo, Michael Stephens.
Yellow cards: Minda 36, Donovan 85. Red card: Lopes 70.
Referee: Mark Geiger. Att.: 18,800.
Records: Chivas USA 4-6-1, 13 points; Galaxy 3-6-2, 11 points.