Los Angeles Soccer: Cory Gibbs
The Goats' disastrous stretch of late season hit a new low point Saturday, when they battled back from another horrid start only to lose at the finish, a 3-2 decision at Chicago that extended their season-worst losing (four games) and winless (six) streaks.
The Fire (5-8-15) went ahead through Cory Gibbs' header in the second minute, made it 2-0 on a Juan Pablo Angel own goal in the 25th, then pulled out the victory when Dominic Oduro finished Patrick Nyarko's feed in the 85th.
Gibbs got above Michael Umaņa to nod home the first, and the second arrived when Pavel Pardo's free kick glanced off Zarek Valentin, hit Angel between his shoulder and his head and flew past goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.
Oduro's winner, which Chivas initally argued was offside -- Valentin kept Oduro onside -- followed a penetrating pass from Diego Chaves, who fended off Alejandro Moreno and Umaņa to find Nyarko.
Chivas (7-12-10), which held a man advantage after Gibbs was red-carded for a rough challenge on Michael Lahoud in the 37th minute, rallied on second-half goals two minutes apart by Angel -- his second since arriving last month from the Galaxy -- and Nick LaBrocca.
The Goats, employing an attacking lineup, controlled the game's tempo but not the game, a recurring theme this season. They completed more than twice as many passes as did the Fire (553-266) and possessed the ball for 67.6 percent of the game. If only those figures counted more than the score.
The Galaxy made a big splash in the second phase of Major League Soccer's re-entry draft Wednesday, taking New York Red Bulls striker Juan Pablo Angel -- arguably the finest target forward ever to play in the league -- after making a trade with Houston to move up to fourth in the draft.
The 35-year-old Colombian, who joined the Red Bulls when Galaxy coach Bruce Arena was in charge in New York, has scored 61 goals in four seasons for New York.
His contract, for $1.62 million (with $1.918 million guaranteed compensation), was not renewed, and the Galaxy will be able to negotiate a new pact with the tall striker.
“In the re-entry draft, all teams are doing is acquiring rights to players,” Arena said on a teleconference Wednesday afternoon. “There's still a negotiating period to see if we can reach an agreement. … We think he's a very fine forward, and we're hopeful we can reach an agreement. …
“The reason we took him in the re-entry draft is we think we can make it work. I think Juan wants to make it work, but we have to get in some discussions this week and see if we can reach an agreement.”
The Galaxy also selected Red Bulls midfielder Luke Sassano, and Chivas USA took Kansas City central defender Jimmy Conrad (Temple City/Temple City HS and UCLA).
Galaxy midfielder Dema Kovalenko and Chivas USA midfielder Marcelo Saragosa and defender Alex Zotinca weren't drafted and become free agents. So do Colorado midfielder Peter Vagenas (Pasadena/St. Francis HS and UCLA) and Columbus midfielder Duncan Oughton (Cal State Fullerton).
Arena said he has spoken twice with Angel in recent weeks and believes a deal can be made despite the forward's stated desire to remain on the East Coast. If signed, Angel likely would be a Designated Player, which would all but end any chance of L.A. acquiring Brazilian forward Ronaldinho.