Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Los Angeles Soccer [Print without images]

Sunday, May 13, 2012
CHIVAS: Point is enough in San Jose

By Scott French

Jose Erik Correa
Jose Correa of Chivas USA battles for the ball in the air with Justin Morrow of the Earthquakes.

Jose Erik Correa made the most of his first start, but Chivas USA couldn't hold onto to its advantage at the finish, settling for a draw in game they should have won even if they didn't really deserve to.

Correa scored with a simple but tremendous touch in the fourth minute, and the Goats defended with everything they had the rest of the way, coming within two minutes plus stoppage of their fourth road victory of the season before Alan Gordon's header gave the San Jose Earthquakes a 1-1 draw at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara.

It's the sixth goal, of the dozen the Goats (3-6-1, 10 points) have conceded in 10 games, to come after the 80th minute. It's the first that turned a win into a tie, although twice would-be draws became losses on stoppage-time strikes.

“At the end of the day, you take every point you get, because at the end of the year, they're all going to be important,” Chivas head coach Robin Fraser told ESPN Los Angeles. “Certainly having lost [three in a row], it was important to come out of this with something.”

Given the onslaught they survived in the second half, the Goats are fortunate to have that point. Dan Kennedy was again superb in the nets, making three huge saves -- on Simon Dawkins in the 28th minute and Yorba Linda's Steven Lenhart in the 55th and 74th -- and the men in front of him were organized and committed, terrific if hardly perfect.

“I think if you were to tell us that we were going to come in here and get a point, we would have been happy with that,” said Kennedy, who faced 24 shots (to five by Chivas) and 15 corner kicks. “The team really put in a shift in the second half. Obviously, we were under pressure. They had a lot of service. For me, I think this is something we can build on.”

Gordon, a former Galaxy stalwart who spent time with Chivas in 2010 and most of preseason last year, returned from a hamstring injury to score the equalizer. First-round draft pick Sam Garza, from UC Santa Barbara, delivered the cross from the left flank, and Gordon got behind center back John Alexander Valencia to easily head the ball into the net.

Valencia failed to jump on the play, and Garza had far too much time to prepare his service. As relentless as the Goats were defensively -- Fraser called it “a very resolute effort” -- there were problems. They left San Jose little space to operate, but their marking was sometimes ridiculously poor (Chris Wondolowski and Dawkins were open at the far post for a cross from Lawndale's Rafael Baca in the 18th minute) and struggles to effectively clear the ball helped San Jose maintain constant pressure the final 45 minutes.

San Jose (7-2-2, 23 points) had far more possession -- 62.5 percent, officially, although completed passes (503 to 302 for Chivas) better illustrate the dominance -- and the Goats put just one shot on target, Correa's goal on their first genuine foray.

“They pushed forward, and we were unable to put together stretches of attack,” Fraser said. “Certainly, the best way to deal with a team that puts you under a lot of pressure is to have the ball. There were moments we could have done better with the ball.”

Holding midfielder Oswaldo Minda's absence to suspension for yellow-card accumulation did not help, although Chivas reverted to its 4-2-3-1 alignment to make up for his absence. And, Fraser said, because “we've been successful on the road playing out of that formation.”

They have. They are 3-1-1 on the road and 0-5 at home, with the biggest of home games -- the SuperClasico against the Galaxy -- set for next weekend.

Correa, who made his debut last week after arriving from Colombia a week before that, was the lone forward. He had little support but put clinically finished the one chance that came his way.

Miller Bolaņos started the play, winning a 50-50 ball with Ramiro Corrales on the right flank, then nodding the ball forward for James Riley, who had a step on Baca. Riley, a former Earthquakes back, delivered a low cross into the middle, and Correa swept it inside the left post despite Jason Hernandez's rapt attention.

“He's certainly shown to be the type of forward who works hard,” Fraser said. “He sneaked into that spot there. Great ball, great finish. A good debut for him.”

Said Correa: “I think I did what [Fraser] needed me to do.”

It was just the sixth goal of the campaign for Chivas, worst mark in MLS.

WORTH NOTING: Valencia made his second straight start, with Rauwshan McKenzie moving to the bench for the first time this season. ... Juan Pablo Angel did not play but was on the 18-man game roster. ... Peter Vagenas, back from broken ribs, returned to the lineup after missing six games. He departed after taking a shot to the ribs in the 72nd minute, but Fraser said he was all right. ... Correa appeared to hurt his right knee at the end of the first half, but he returned for the second half and played the full 90 minutes. ... Chivas has made an offer to acquire center back Danny Califf from Philadelphia, Union coach Peter Nowak said. ... Wondolowski's eight-game streak with a goal or assist was stopped. ... Gordon and Garza came off the bench with about a half-hour to go. Garza's assist was his first career point. ... Said Gordon: “You can't help but feel like we lost a couple points here. We certainly would have liked to win, but a point is better than none.” ... San Jose is second in the Western Conference and Supporters' Shield standings, three points behind Real Salt Lake (8-3-2), which has played two more games. Chivas remains eighth in the nine-team conference. ... The Galaxy and Earthquakes meet in an MLS Reserve League match Monday morning.


MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
Buck Shaw Stadium (Santa Clara)
San Jose Earthquakes 1, Chivas USA 1

C -- Jose Erik Correa (James Riley, Miller Bolaņos) 4
SJ -- Alan Gordon (Sam Garza) 88

San Jose Earthquakes: Jon Busch; Steven Beitashour, Jason Hernandez, Justin Morrow, Ramiro Corrales; Rafael Baca (Sam Garza, 60), Khari Stephenson, Tressor Moreno (Alan Gordon, 57), Simon Dawkins; Chris Wondolowski, Steven Lenhart (Sercan Guvenisik, 75). Unused subs: David Bingham, Sam Cronin, Ike Opara, Brad Ring.

Chivas USA: Dan Kennedy; James Riley, John Alexander Valencia, Heath Pearce, Ante Jazic; Peter Vagenas (Blair Gavin, 75), Nick LaBrocca; Miller Bolaņos (Ryan Smith, 68), Alejandro Moreno, Laurent Courtois (Michael Lahoud, 46); Jose Erik Correa. Unused subs: Juan Pablo Angel, Rauwshan McKenzie, Tim Melia, Jorge Villafaņa.

Yellow cards: LaBrocca 36, Stephenson 39, Corrales 56, Riley 74, Garza 91+.

Referee: Ricardo Salazar. Att.: 9,169.

Records: Chivas USA 3-6-1, 10 points; San Jose 7-2-2, 23 points.