LA Galaxy draw 1-1 with Chivas in physical, sloppy rivalry match

USA TODAY Sports

It wasn't pretty, and Chivas USA will feel better about walking away with a point than the Galaxy will. Poor closing out of the match cost LA three points.

The LA Galaxy tried to win ugly, but instead they drew ugly getting both an 83' go ahead goal from Jack McBean and then allowing the equalizer in the 89'. In a match where the Galaxy were the only team trying to score and go ahead, general sloppiness won out and the crosstown rivals had to settle for a 1-1 draw.

Arena said the way the match was going with everyone behind the ball for Chivas, it was going to take an ugly goal. McBean's 83' goal certainly wasn't pretty, heading in a deflection of a Mike Magee shot. Dan Kennedy got a hand to it, but not enough to change the direction of the ball.

Bruce Arena placed the blame for the draw solely on his team after the match: "I think it was a poor performance on our part today. Bad game, a lot of fouls, a lot of time wasting. Not well played on our part, and a terrible effort in closing the game out at the end."

Carlo Cudicini didn't face a shot until the 89' goal. The only other shot attempt registered by Chivas USA came in the thirtieth minute, an Eric Avila attempt that was blocked by Todd Dunivant. Chivas started in a 3-4-3, but after Joaquin Velazquez earned a red card the Goats played essentially a 6-3-0 for the rest of the match.

The match was also heavy on the fouls, 30 between the two teams and 22 of those committed by Chivas USA. With the Galaxy less rest with the CONCACAF Champions League match on Wednesday, Chivas chose to play a physical game. Not that it was a break in style for Chivas, who were called for 18 fouls against FC Dallas.

"We were expecting exactly what they were going to do to be honest with you," said Robbie Keane after the match. "We didn't play well today, it was one of our worst performances for a long time I'd say."

The turning point in the play of the match was the straight red card given to Joaquin Velazquez for his foul on Colin Clark. From some angles it looked like Velazquez stomped on Clark above the knee. After the match Clark told reporters he didn't feel the foul merited a straight red, but Ricardo Salazar told the pool reporter after the match that he deemed it a serious foul play. By FIFA rules, a serious foul play occurs when a player uses excessive force and is in danger of injuring his opponent. It is always a red card.

Bruce Arena substituted Colin Clark at halftime, and told reporters it was because he felt Clark was ineffective. In taking out Clark the Galaxy went to the lineup that defeated Herediano on Wednesday, and according to Arena it improved the way they played. Certainly being up a man helped, but the Galaxy had almost four times as many attempts on goal in the second half than they had in the third.

The Galaxy were a bit unlucky hitting the woodwork twice. First in the 31' minute, Jose Villarreal earned a foul within cross range for Juninho. Juninho's free kick was kept in by Omar Gonzalez, and then Villarreal's headed attempt hit the crossbar. Mike Magee was able to get his head on an A.J. DeLaGarza cross and that too hit the crossbar.

This is probably the first LA Galaxy match where it's fair to say the Galaxy missed the services of David Beckham. That the three best attempts were all headers says something about how difficult it was to play the ball on the ground. That the Galaxy had to switch to a three man back line after bringing in Michael Stephens in the 77 minute and still A.J. DeLaGarza was the one to send the ball to Mike Magee that led to the McBean goal, shows you how bunkered in Chivas USA were.

The Galaxy have shown well in open matches, but today they showed how unprepared they were for a tough physical match. It's one thing to expect it, it's another to play through it for ninety minutes. Unfortunately for the Galaxy, it's something they could see coming up in the CONCACAF tournament.

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