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Match Report: Union 1-1 Chivas USA

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

On Sunday, the Union played Chivas USA to a drab draw in front of a sparsely populated Home Depot Center in Carson, California. After a slow-paced first half that yielded few chances, Justin Mapp opened the scoring in the second half before the sensational Juan Pablo Angel drew the home side level at the death.

A return to 4-4-2

Mapp started in place of Roger Torres as the Union began the day in a traditional 4-4-2 formation. With Amobi Okugo and Brian Carroll holding down the center of the pitch it quickly became apparent that the Union were lacking in creative options to bring the ball up the park and Michael Farfan was forced to eschew his wing responsibilities to dip into the middle to find work. With Veljko Paunovic  failing to find chemistry alongside Sebastien Le Toux up top, the Union struggled for chances and possession in a dour first half that was played almost exclusively in the center third of the field.

For Chivas USA, Juan Pablo Angel was the star man all night as he never backed down from the challenge presented by Danny Califf and Carlos Valdes. His excellent workrate caused trouble all night as he, alongside teammates Justin Braun, Nick Labrocca and former Union striker Alejandro Moreno, all pushed the game high up the field imposing the play on the Union.

Absorbing pressure

With few exceptions, the Union were content to absorb the pressure with Carroll and Okugo putting on a clinic in tackling efficiency.

As the half drew on, Michael Farfan’s quality began to show as he played Le Toux into space, only for his cut back to be lashed clear. On the stroke of halftime, Mapp’s pinpoint cross fell for Farfan, whose delicate chip inched agonizingly wide of Dan Kennedy’s net.

Midfield changes

After the halftime break, though, Okugo was withdrawn along with Paunovic for Roger Torres and Freddy Adu. As in the Columbus game at PPL PArk, Michael Farfan moved back alongside Brian Carroll with Mapp, Torres and Adu above.

It was more of the same though from the Union as the midfield failed to string passes together and create meaningful possession.


And then Mapp struck.

In the 59th minute, Adu’s pressure forced a turnover and Mapp raced on to it. The sagging Chivas defense failed to pressure the Union midfielder allowing him time to unleash a rocket beyond the helpless Kennedy.

Chivas almost struck straight back through Moreno who beat Carlos Valdes to a low cross, but his flick was denied by the woodwork.

Worrying moments

There would be further worrying moments for the Union, especially after Zac MacMath landed awkwardly on Sheanon Williams ankle after he rose high to claim a lofted cross. The keeper stayed down to receive treatment and recently signed reserve keeper Chase Harrison readied himself for some unexpected action. In the end, MacMath was able to soldier on, but looked worse for wear and allowed Valdes to take his goal kicks for the remainder of the match.

In the 74th minute, Kyle Nakazawa entered the match for the goal-scoring Mapp and the Union attempted to bunker down for the final quarter of an hour as cross after cross was pumped into the Union box. Gabriel Farfan did well to keep out Justin Braun, despite being on a yellow card, and Danny Califf, Valdes and Williams took turns leaping high to deny Chivas a chance at the equalizer.

One equals two

But with so little possession, the chances were coming fast and furious and the breakthrough finally came in the 90th minute after Angel freed himself from the attentions of the Union defense and powered a header beyond MacMath. It was a well deserved strike for the hard-working Colombian Man of the Match and made for a fair final result on the night.

Next for the Union, it is off to Seattle. They will know that they left two valuable points on the table in LA.


  1. Rough result because Seattle in Seattle is going to really tough. I’d love to escape with 1. If we get 6 points to end the season, I see us winning the east.

  2. Tough way to give up two points. It was always going to be hard flying across the country and playing 3 days after a crucial match. But still, someone’s got to get in front of Angel there. Ball watching at the 90th minute? C’mon Williams you’re better than that.
    On the bright side- Mapp’s strike was sweet. Dude needed a confidence boost.

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