In no way can I say I predicted this, because I didn't, but if you look at the match preview for tonight's match between Chivas USA and Real Salt Lake I cited last season's victory on the road against the New York Red Bulls as a lesson for the Goats when they are lined up against supposedly superior competition. Chivas now have a similar landmark win in 2012, as they downed RSL on the road 1-0. Make no mistake, RSL is still a side that would probably beat Chivas 7 or 8 times out of 10, but on this night, Chivas got the win.
Casey Townsend scored his first career MLS goal, in the 72nd minute, to give the Goats the shock lead. As I wrote about earlier this week, Townsend seems to have a remarkable ability to win headers, and that skill served him well on the goal, as he got his head on the ball in the box, and was able to interfere with Nick Rimando's ability to grab Ante Jazic's cross cleanly. From there, the bobbled ball fell to Townsend and he was remarkable in being able to score with no space.It seemed Chivas won with a combination of skill, luck and intelligence. Several players apparently got yellow cards on professional fouls (Oswaldo Minda, Peter Vagenas, and Townsend) and RSL couldn't get the ball in the net when they needed to, especially when Alvaro Saborio missed a chip over Dan Kennedy off the crossbar very late in the match to tie. But the defense played well, and seemingly against the odds, Robin Fraser's strategy of playing an ultra-defensive formation paid off in a major way. I assumed a 4-5-1 would be basically conceding a win for a better chance at a draw, but it worked. It sounded like Kennedy, as usual, played a huge part in getting the win, and fantastic for him in coming up big yet again.
And that luck component may have carried over from Chivas' first two games, where they seemed to suffer from unlucky breaks in both matches. I was starting to wonder if their luck would ever change, but it turned in a big way tonight.
In lieu of my regular report, I need to actually watch this entire match myself (I followed along on a radio feed and twitter) before I discuss particular players and storylines. I'll have a post up tomorrow after seeing the game, ahem, I mean victory, with my own eyes. Until then, I'm sure you'll be soaking in the win like me!
What do you think? Leave a comment below!