YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Chivas USA clinches MLS playoff spot

Victory over Kansas City leaves the team tied for first place in MLS Western Conference.

October 11, 2009|Mark Medina

Chivas USA Coach Preki had warned his team that its matchup with the Kansas City Wizards would not be what he called "an easy game."

The game had strong playoff implications in Major League Soccer's Western Conference, making it a surprise, Preki said, when a "very poor half from both teams" ended in a scoreless tie.

Luckily for Chivas USA, it painted a different picture in the second half en route to a 2-0 victory before 12,923 at the Home Depot Center.

With San Jose and Toronto playing to a 1-1 tie Saturday, Chivas' victory guaranteed its fourth consecutive playoff berth and eliminated Kansas City (8-12-8) from postseason contention.

"It's nice to get the three points and officially qualify for the playoffs," Preki said. "But we still have three games to play. We're looking forward to finishing the season strong."

The victory put Chivas (13-9-5) in a three-way tie for first place in the West with the Galaxy (11-6-11) and the Houston Dynamo (12-8-8), each with 44 points.

Chivas was coming off ties the previous two weeks against Seattle and New York, and another tie appeared distinctly possible in the first half when Chivas failed to convert on five corner kicks and put only two of its eight shots on goal, and Kansas City had four shots.

But the scoring drought ended in the 71st minute, when Chivas forward Justin Braun drilled a right-footed shot into the upper left corner of the goal for a 1-0 lead after receiving a pass from forward Maykel Galindo on the right flank.

Midfielder Sacha Kljestan's low 12-yard shot through the middle in the 74th minute gave Chivas USA a 2-0 lead. Forward Eduardo Lillingston, who had come in for Michael Lahoud in the 55th minute, set up the goal from the right flank. Kljestan has five goals in the last eight games after failing to score in the first 14 matches this season.

Chivas USA recorded its sixth clean sheet in the last eight games, with goalkeeper Zach Thornton recording his league-leading 12th shutout.

"We stayed organized and did simple things better in the second half than the first half," Preki said. "I thought we moved the ball better and we pressed them in the second half with a lot more commitment."


Los Angeles Times Articles