Saturday, August 30
Chivas USA 2-1 Toronto FC :: Harris goal elevates Chivas to 3rd place in West / Con gol de Atiba Harris, Chivas sube al tercer lugar del Oeste
Forward Atiba Harris scored a game-winning goal in the last minute of injury time to give Chivas USA a 2-1 victory over Toronto FC in front of 12,561 fans on a warm, clear night at The Home Depot Center.
With the win, Chivas USA moves into sole possession of third place in the Western Conference, the final guaranteed playoff spot in the division. The Red-and-White now have a record of 7-9-6 (W-L-T) and 27 points, trailing Real Salt Lake by three points and the Houston Dynamo, who host Chicago on Sunday, by five in the division.
Chivas USA trailed 1-0 after Toronto’s Jim Brennan scored on a breakaway in the 19th minute on an assist from Rohan Ricketts. However, the Red-and-White struck back less than a minute later, when Alecko Eskandarian, making his first ever start for Chivas USA, took an Ante Razov pass and finished to knot the game at one.
Though Chivas USA outshot Toronto 20-5 over the course of the game, the winning goal did not come until after the 93rd minute, when the team finally broke through the Toronto defense. Sacha Kljestan, serving as the team’s captain, drove a corner kick on the ground into the box, where defender Bobby Burling let the ball run through his legs to Atiba Harris, whose left-footed shot was slowed by Toronto goalkeeper Greg Sutton before trickling over the line.
The win was the second come-from-behind victory in the history of the team, and also the second this season, after the team came back from a 1-0 deficit to beat D.C. United 3-1 on May 17, also at The Home Depot Center.
Chivas USA Head Coach Preki, on tonight’s match: “It was one of those crazy games. I thought, [a goal] is never coming, but then it finally came in the last minute of the game. I’m pleased with three points, we put ourselves now in a good spot, and hopefully we’ll build on this.” (For a full quote sheet, please visit http://www.cdchivasusa.com/.)
Chivas USA was without seven players due to injury and suspension: Maykel Galindo (sports hernia surgery), Jesse Marsch (fractured jaw), Claudio Suárez (R hip strain), Carey Talley (L thigh strain), Raphaël Wicky (R ankle surgery), and Alex Zotinca (R knee surgery). Also out was defender Shavar Thomas, who was suspended due to yellow card accumulation.
Both Atiba Harris and Sacha Kljestan will miss the team’s next league match after picking up a yellow card in tonight’s game.
Chivas USA faces Tauro F.C. on Tuesday night at The Home Depot Center in the crucial second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League Preliminary Round. Tauro, of Panama, won 2-0 last Tuesday in Panama City, and Chivas USA will look to overturn the deficit in the total-goals home-and-home series. Parking for that match is free, and tickets can be purchased by calling 1-877-CHIVAS-1 or 1-213-480-3232, or by visiting http://www.ticketmaster.com/ or http://www.cdchivasusa.com/.
Next Saturday’s game at Toronto FC will take place at 4:00 p.m. ET (1:00 p.m. PT) and will be broadcast live on TeleFutura and FSN Prime Ticket, as well as W Radio 690 AM. Chivas USA will be without Sacha Kljestan, who will be with the U.S. National Team, and Shavar Thomas, who will also miss Tuesday’s match against Tauro while with the Jamaican National Team, both for World Cup qualifiers, as well as Atiba Harris due to yellow-card accumulation.