Galaxy stays unbeaten at home with win over Chivas USA
The Galaxy had cleaned house all season, denying any Home Depot Center visitor to depart with a win.
The soccer club doesn’t own the building, but saying it did this regular season wouldn’t be inaccurate.
And all that stood between it and an unbeaten home record -- something only two teams have done in Major League Soccer history (San Jose in 2005, Real Salt Lake last season) -- was Sunday’s guest, which came along with a sold-out crowd of 27,000, the Galaxy’s sixth this season.
This foe wasn’t in a foreign environment, though.
Chivas USA also calls this swath of grass home. Its locker room is just down the hall, in fact.
But the Galaxy treated its SuperClasico rival as it had anyone else it faced here. Rudely.
Chad Barrett headed in a short goal in the 53th minute, his third goal in four games, and the Galaxy held on to win, 1-0, preserving its unbeaten mark (12-0-5) in the site of the MLS Cup next month.
“Come and play us here,” Barrett said. “It’s not an easy thing to do.”
Entering the game, the Galaxy (19-4-10) had already clinched the Supporters’ Shield for the best record in the MLS and home field throughout the playoffs, whereas Chivas was already out of the playoffs and ends its season Saturday against Seattle.
So, really, Sunday meant little.
“If they’d have been fighting for something, it would’ve been a different story,” midfielder David Beckham said. “If we would’ve been fighting for something, different story.”
Instead, it had a somber tone.
The Galaxy could have made it a blowout, but Barrett blew several golden scoring opportunities.
He converted just one of his five shots on goal, heading in a crossing pass from Adam Cristman shortly after halftime.
The game was calm from then on.
So was Juan Pablo Angel, who was traded by the Galaxy in August so it could acquire Ireland national team captain Robbie Keane.
Angel went to Chivas and scored seven goals in seven games with the team, but he didn’t score any against his old club. He was barely able to touch the ball.
Keane (torn thigh muscle) didn’t play Sunday for the Galaxy, nor did Landon Donovan (quadriceps), who also rested.
Donovan is expected to play Thursday in Galaxy’s CONCACAF Champions League match against Motagua in Honduras.
Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena said he’s hopeful Keane will be available at some point in the MLS playoffs.
Beckham said he will be with the Galaxy in Honduras, but it’s unclear whether he’ll be with them beyond, as his five-year MLS contract expires this season.
He reiterated after the game that he will decide his future this off-season.
That off-season might be a while if the Galaxy’s defense keeps up.
Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders earned his eighth shutout and the Galaxy extended its unbeaten regular-season home streak to 18 consecutive games, the fourth-longest such streak in MLS history.
“We’ve made this our fortress, and against Chivas, that means everything,” said defender Todd Dunivant.
The Galaxy swept Chivas this season, winning both games, 1-0. It is 7-0-3 in its last 10 games against the Goats.
The Galaxy also has 67 points in the MLS standings and could set a league record with 70 if it wins next week’s season finale in Houston.
U.S. national team veteran Gregg Berhalter served as the Galaxy’s captain in his final home game.
The 38-year-old announced last week his plans to retire after the season.
“Right before the game is when it hit me that this is it,” Berhalter said.
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