A last-minute goal from defender Jim Curtin, his first tally since April 8, 2006, gave Chivas USA a 1-1 tie Saturday night with the Houston Dynamo on Fan Appreciation Night at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
The Red-and-White finish the regular season with a 12-11-7 record (W-L-T) and now head to the playoffs for the third consecutive season.
Chivas USA will face Real Salt Lake at brand-new Rio Tinto Stadium next Saturday, Nov. 1 at Sandy, Utah. Chivas USA then hosts RSL on Saturday, Nov. 8, in the second leg of the two-game Western Conference Semifinal Series.
Houston scored the first goal of tonight’s match on a penalty in 52nd minute of the game after Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy was given a red card for a foul in the box on Houston striker Nate Jaqua. Dwayne De Rosario scored the penalty, as the Dynamo (14-5-11, 53 points) finished first in the Western Conference.
Kennedy was replaced in the match by Zach Thornton, who made his first appearance since injuring his hamstring on Sept. 6 in Toronto. With a one match suspension for the red card, Kennedy will miss the first match of the playoffs, next Saturday in Utah.
The Red-and-White learned their first-round playoff opponent at halftime of tonight’s game, when the match between Real Salt Lake and Colorado Rapids ended. RSL needed a draw to secure the third and final guaranteed playoff spot in the Western Conference, and a Yura Movsisyan goal in the 90th minute gave Real a 1-1 tie.
Chivas USA Head Coach Preki, on the match: “After [the penalty] it was very difficult for us, but once again, the guys in the locker room don’t quit. They keep going, they keep fighting, and they got rewarded at the end.”(For a full quote sheet, please visit cdchivasusa.com.)
The match saw the return to the field for several Chivas USA players, including MF Francisco Mendoza (R foot contusion), MF Paulo Nagamura (R knee sprain), Claudio Suárez (L knee contusion), and GK Zach Thornton (L hamstring tear). The Red-and-White were without several others due to injury: DF Eric Ebert (R knee lateral meniscus surgery); FW Maykel Galindo (sports hernia surgery); DF Lawson Vaughn (L ankle surgery); MF Sasha Victorine (L knee sprain); MF Raphael Wicky (R ankle surgery)
Chivas USA now heads into the playoffs for the third straight season, and will play Real Salt Lake in the first-round, home-and-home Western Conference Semifinal. The first leg takes place on Saturday, Nov. 1 in Utah.
The Red-and-White will then host RSL on Saturday, Nov. 8 at The Home Depot Center at 7:30 p.m. at The Home Depot Center. The first 10,000 fans in attendance on the night will receive a free, limited-edition Chivas USA 2008 playoffs t-shirt. Tickets for the squad’s third consecutive appearance in MLS postseason play, starting at just $14, are now on sale by visiting cdchivasusa.com, or calling 1-877-CHIVAS-1.