On a rainy Saturday night at Rice-Eccles Stadium and with a goal from former Real Salt Lake player Alecko Eskandarian, Chivas USA defeated RSL 1-0 and climbed to second place in the Western Conference. It was also RSL’s final game at Rice-Eccles before moving into their new Real Salt Lake Stadium next month. Tonight’s attendance (26,391) was the third-largest home crowd in RSL history. The Red-and-White also handed RSL its first loss at home this season.
With just five games left in the MLS regular season, Chivas USA is in second place with 33 points, followed by Colorado and RSL, tied in third place with 30 points. The Red-and-White win also represents a valuable head-to-head tiebreaker over RSL in case both teams finish the regular season even on points. Currently, Chivas USA also holds the head-to-head tiebreaker against Colorado. Only the top three teams in the Conference have a guaranteed spot in the playoffs.
Chivas USA forward Alecko Eskandarian scored his third goal of the season at the 72nd minute of play (unassisted) when he took advantage of a miscommunication between Real Salt Lake’s goalkeeper Nick Rimando and defender Nat Borchers.
Chivas USA Defender Jonathan Bornstein suffered a head injury during a play in the first half and had to be replaced by Sasha Victorine, who made his debut with the Red-and-White at the start of the second half. Bornstein’s concussion injury forced Chivas USA Coach to modify his line up during the second half. Victorine started in the midfield and Francisco Mendoza moved to left back.
Midfielder Jesse Marsch made his first appearance with Chivas USA since he suffered a jaw fracture during the last game against the Galaxy on August 14th. Marsch entered the game at the 66th minute of play for forward Ante Razov.
Chivas USA Head Coach Preki, on tonight’s match: “We got a fortunate goal. Sometimes, in this game, you have to be lucky and get one of those things. This year luck hasn’t been on our side too often, so tonight we’ll take it. It’s that time of year that we’ll take the points, it doesn’t matter how they come.”
“We always knew that we had a good team. It was just a matter of getting everybody healthy and getting everybody playing. I don’t think we played our best tonight. It was our first time we put this group together in a long time.”