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Cuncliffe scores twice to lead Chivas USA, 3-2

October 07, 2007|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

SALT LAKE CITY -- When soccer fans in Los Angeles were told an English player would make his mark on the sport this season in Major League Soccer, it figured the player being discussed was David Beckham.

But with the Galaxy midfielder suffering injuries and playing minimally in his first season here, it left the door open for another.

John Cuncliffe scored two goals to help Chivas USA take sole possession of the Western Conference lead with a 3-2 victory over Real Salt Lake on Saturday night at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

Cuncliffe, a native of Bolton, England, and a lifelong fan of Manchester United, started for the first time since July 4 and made the most of it.

Paulo Nagamura also scored for Chivas (14-7-6), which earned three points for the victory to break a tie with the Houston Dynamo in the standings.

Each team has three games left, including a head-to-head matchup on Oct. 20 in the regular-season finale at the Home Depot Center.

Cuncliffe started up front with Galaxy castoff Laurent Merlin in place of usual starters Ante Razov and Maykel Galindo. Galindo was serving a suspension because of yellow-card accumulation. It is not known why Razov did not play.

"We have a deeper squad this year and some of these young guys have been waiting for their opportunity," said Preki, Chivas' coach. "Tonight they got it, and we got three goals and you can't ask for more than that away from home."

Chris Brown and Robbie Findley scored for last-place Salt Lake (5-14-9).

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