At first, Ante Razov didn't know if his free kick was too far out to put on goal. Luckily for Chivas USA, he decided it wasn't.
Razov's goal in the 88th minute gave Chivas (6-6-3, 21 points) a 1-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes (3-9-3, 12 points) and lifted Chivas into a tie with the Galaxy for first place in the Western Conference. The teams play each other Thursday.
Razov's goal, his third of the season, came after San Jose midfielder Ronnie O'Brien earned a yellow card for tackling Chivas forward Atiba Harris from behind about 30 yards from the goal.
"I was trying to concentrate on just getting it over the wall," Razov said. "I saw that side was clearly open."
The kick made it over San Jose's wall and curled away from the outstretched arm of goalkeeper Joe Cannon just inside the right post.
Razov's goal capped off an otherwise frustrating night for Chivas.
In the 53rd minute, Razov had a shot from close range that deflected off the left post. In the 80th minute, Sacha Kljestan had a breakaway on Cannon, but Cannon came out of the net and denied Kljestan.
One of Chivas' best chances came off a through ball from Razov to defender Jonathan Bornstein in the 17th minute. But Cannon dived to his left and deflected Bornstein's shot. Harris tried to follow but was pressured and shot it right back to Cannon.
Razov nearly put one past Cannon in the 42nd minute, but Cannon corralled it near the right post just before the ball crossed the line. Seconds earlier, defender Bobby Burling gained position for a header off a corner kick, but his shot hit the crossbar.
In the first half, San Jose forward Ramiro Corrales took a shot from 30 yards away that deflected off Chivas midfielder Paulo Nagamura and hit the right post.