Second half surge seals victory for Red and WhiteBy Steve L. Hernandez • Mar 22nd, 2009 • Category: Match Reports
Paolo Nagamura’s two second-half strikes seal Chivas USA’s first home victory over the Colorado Rapids since early 2007. View ASN’s photo gallery of the match here.
Playing without all-time leading goal scorer Ante Razov and a laundry list of other injured players, Chivas USA received goals from an unlikely source Saturday night in Carson. Paolo Nagamura, who had never scored a goal before 2007, and only four in his MLS career, scored two carbon copy goals in the second half of a rugged match with the rugged Colorado Rapids.
The night did not get off to a great start for Chivas. While having the majority of possession in the first 10 minutes of the match, Chivas USA did little to threaten Colorado Goalkeeper Matt Pickens. Colorado, on the other hand, pressured Zach Thornton’s goal on multiple occasions early in the match. In the 10th minute, Colorado forward Connor Casey took a bad pass from Chivas’ star midfielder Sacha Kljestan and made a dangerous run into the box, punctuated by a cross that went clear across the Chivas goal. Luckily for Chivas, no Colorado player was able to steer the ball into the open net. A minute later, Colorado’s Jamaican forward, Omar Cummings, fed a cross from the right side of the field clear across the box, landing only a few feet in front of the goal and bouncing harmlessly across the endline.
Thornton came up big in the 12th minute of the match as he was only barely able to stretch and slap a bounding ball destined for the back of the net away from his goal. The rebound, however, went directly to Casey, who shot high and off the crossbar from inside 10 feet from the goal.
The Goat’s keeper luck ran out in the 30th minute when he flubbed a low, soft shot from Rapids defenseman Ugo Imelu and the rebound was pounded into the back of the net by an alert Cummings.
The remainder of the half brought about improved play from the Red and White, but a diving save of a fierce Kljestan shot by Pickens in the 41st minute maintained the 1-0 halftime lead for the Rapids.
The second-half began with crowd-favorite Chivas forward Maykel Galindo taking the field in place of Eduardo Lillingston. “We’re a different team with Galindo on the field, it’s no secret,”said Chivas USA Coach Preki. Galindo, who rated his physical fitness at about “88 or 89 percent” paid dividends quickly, as he used his speed to disrupt the left left flank of the Colorado defense in the 54th minute and passed a ball toward Justin Braun, who let the ball roll directly to an onrushing Nagamura a few yards outside the box. Nagamura wasted no time and slotted a right-footed shot between two Colorado defenders and past a diving Pickens into the bottom left hand corner of the Rapids’s goal.
Nagamura struck again 5 minutes later, when Chivas’s newly acquired Mexican defenseman Mariano Trujillo sent a looping cross into the box and the Colorado defense failed to clear the ball out of the box. Instead, the ball was headed directly to Nagamura, leaving him with a shot similar to, but a few yards closer than, his goal-scoring effort five minutes earlier. Nagamura again capitalized, shooting past a diving Pickens into the bottom left corner of the Rapids goal. “I’m really happy to have scored two goals, but I’m happier that I could help our team to get the three points tonight,” said a humble Nagamura.
The Rapids pushed forward for much of the match’s final minutes, but neither Casey nor dangerous Colorado native Colin Clark could find a way to pierce the Red and White’s solid defense. “What I liked most about the team today was our attitude,” said Galindo, “we came out with the mentality to win and I think that helped us get the victory.”
Colorado Rapids at Chivas USA, March 21, 2009
Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif. Attendance: 16,453
COL — Omar Cummings 1 (unassisted) 30
CHV — Paulo Nagamura 1 (unassisted) 55
CHV — Paulo Nagamura 2 (unassisted) 59
CHV — Atiba Harris (caution; Reckless Foul) 51
CHV — Paulo Nagamura (caution; Reckless Tackle) 61
COL — Colin Clark (caution; Reckless Tackle) 62
CHV — Jesse Marsch (caution; Reckless Tackle) 73
Referee: Terry Vaughn
Referee’s Assistants: Anthony Vasoli; Frank Anderson
4th Official: Kevin Stott
Time of Game: 90:00
Weather: Cloudy -and- 57 degrees