Martins Sinks Undermanned Chivas USA 2-1
By Young Kim
Chivas USA remains winless for the past six games as the 10-man Goats fell to the Seattle Sounders 2-1 in front of a quiet Stubhub Center that had only 7,499 people in attendance. Nigerian international Obafemi Martins clinched the game winning goal in the 81st minute after chipping his shot over Chivas USA keeper Dan Kennedy at close range thanks to a through pass from Clint Dempsey. The Sounders (4-2-1) now sit in second place in the western conference while Chivas USA (1-3-3) lingers in seventh place in the same conference.
“Chivas is a team that passes the ball well,” Dempsey commented. “But at the same time I thought when we moved the ball quickly and we got good touches on the ball we were able to open them up and I think you can see that in the second goal we created with our play.”
The game was a physical affair that not only saw three different Chivas USA players (Leandro Barrera, Carlos Alvarez, and Donny Toia) booked with a yellow, but also the home side’s midfielder Marco Delgado sent off with a red card in the 73rd minute after colliding with Sounders’ Gonzalo Pineda. Chivas USA committed 26 fouls to the Sounders’ seven, with Martins getting bruised with seven in the match.
“There was nothing to complain about,” Martins remarked. “I don’t like to talk about the referees because they’re doing their job. The only thing I’m going to talk about is the win. I’m happy for the team that worked so hard to get the three points. I’m happy to take the three points home.”
Chivas USA head coach Wilmer Cabrera took issue with the bookings.
"We don’t receive the respect and we don’t receive the fair considerations [from the referees],” Cabrera expressed. “Even at home, it’s the second game we finish with 10 men. Every call, every 50-50 foul was for the other team.”
The home team got on the score sheet first in the fourth minute of the match. Midfielder Leandro Barrera tried to receive a pass on the left side of the Sounders box, but saw the ball intercepted by Osvaldo Alonso who slide tackled it away.
The ball deflected off Alonso's foot and Barrera ran to retrieve the ball in the box, but was tackled from behind by the desperate Alonso, awarding the Goats a penalty. Erick “Cubo” Torres clipped a slow shot to the right of Sounders’ keeper Stefan Frei, who dove the opposite direction, for his sixth goal of the season, giving Chivas USA a 1-0 lead.
In the 22nd minute, the away side almost levelled the score when Marco Pappa passed to Dempsey at the left side of the opposing box. The club captain delivered a low cross aiming for the streaking Martins, but saw it cleared out by a sliding Bobby Burling.
Sounders finally leveled the score in a bizarre fashion in the 27th minute. Sounders midfielder Gonzalo Pineda delivered a free kick from outside right of the Chivas box to a sea of players. Bobby Burling deflected the ball in the keeper’s direction with his head and Kennedy tried to punch the ball out of danger. However, the ball was mispunched and Kennedy looked on helplessly when he saw Chad Marshall make a one-touch pass to Lamar Neagle who drilled the ball into the net with extreme prejudice.
The Goats thought to have retaken the lead in the 44th minute. Midfielder Carlos Alvarez sent a cross from the top left of the opposing box to Rosales at the right of the box who then delivered a low cross to the sliding Torres. Torres and Frei collided as the ball rolled away from Frei’s grip, giving Marco Delgado the easy shot for goal. However the referee blew the whistle for the foul and the goal was waived.
Before the end of the first half, Pineda delivered a free kick from the right side of the Chivas box to a back-flipping Dempsey who saw his acrobatic shot go high above the bar.
Six minutes after Martins took the lead, Chivas USA almost found the equalizer at the 87th when Luke Moore received a through ball in the right-center of the box, but his shot was deflected by Frei for a corner.
Chivas USA will hit the road on April 26th to play against the San Jose Earthquakes. Sounders will open up their three-game homestead against the Colorado Rapids.