CARSON, CA - APRIL 21: (L-R) Raymon Gaddis #28, Brian Carroll #7, Freddy Adu #11, Sheanon Williams #25 and Lionard Pajoy #23 of Philadelphia Union celebrate Adu's goal in the first half against Chivas USA during the MLS match at The Home Depot Center on April 21, 2012 in Carson, California. The Union defeated Chivas USA 1-0. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
The Philadelphia Union won their first ever game on the road in Los Angeles, defeating Chivas USA 1-0 at the Home Depot Center. Freddy Adu's first goal of the season - assisted by Michael Farfan - gave Philadelphia its second win of the season.
Chivas' Ryan Smith almost opened the scoring in the first minute of the game, but his cross near the goalmouth was cleared out of the box by Gabriel Farfan. The Goats put plenty of pressure on the Union throughout the first few minutes, placing Philadelphia's defense under consistent attack.
The Union had what seemed like only 30 seconds of possession in the first seven minutes of the game, which was a clear indication of the team reverting back to its pre-Columbus Crew win days. Philadelphia finally gained possession following Chivas' long foray into their defensive third, but it was mostly behind the midfield.
The Goats were successful for much of the first half while pressing high and pressuring the Union on the ball. However, this tactical choice allowed Gabriel Farfan to find room on the left side of the midfield.
The left back pushed far up the field on multiple occasions, including a cross into the box that forced Dan Kennedy to react quickly before it became dangerous. Farfan soon thereafter disposed a Chivas player of the ball and was quickly fed back the ball, allowing him to make a run down the left side and win a corner.
Adu moved out to the endline to take the corner, which was cleared to Carroll at the 18. The defensive midfielder was able to shoot the ball, but his blast went well over the net.
Chivas made multiple attempts to beat the Union back four through long balls, targeting rookie Raymon Gaddis. The right back and goalkeeper Zac MacMath failed to communicate well and Gaddis headed the ball backward out of play, away from the MacMath.
Gaddis' mistake gave Chivas another long ball opportunity, which the Los Angeles team was dangerous with all night. Fortunately for the Union, the Goats were unable to execute again, failing to capitalise on their aerial superiority.
Moreno would soon receive a pass at the top of the box and a turn put him in perfect position to test MacMath. The second-year goalkeeper tracked the ball well and scooped up what ended up as a slow roller from Moreno.
Michael Farfan, creative and influential all game, tried to provide the Union with some threatening play offensively after Moreno's shot. A waist high cross to Lionard Pajoy inside of the box nearly worked, but the Colombian striker was offside anyway.
Chivas moved the ball back down the field and are awarded freekick, close to the 18, because Carlos Valdes knocks Nick LaBrocca in the back. The freekick meet the Union wall and was easily cleared.
Despite their inability to score or to challenge MacMath, long balls by Chivas seemed to be working quite well. The long balls, however, enabled the Union to counter attack when they could get possession and Adu and Michael Farfan both found space moving forward.
Adu beat two Chivas players down the left side and was taken down by the second one. The Union eventually won a corner and Adu whiped it in, nearly finding Pajoy in the center of the box.
The clearance was sent out to Chivas' forward players on the counter, but they were stopped from progressing too far foward. Chivas instead build up nicely, feed to the outside and send in a ball.
The cross nearly found someone, but it still managed falls to Riley outside the box. The fullback's shot attempt went well over the goal.
A long ball over the top nearly finds Smith inside of the Union's box on Chivas' next offensive possession.
MacMath claimed the ball, danger averted, but Cardozo appeared to be trying to target Gaddis, a strategy Chivas would employ multiple times throughout the game. To his credit, Gaddis did an amiable job defending in his second ever Major League Soccer start.
The home team once again utilized its advantage in possession to build up play in the Union's final third. Moreno received the ball off of a header inside of the box and tried a bicycle kick and nearly connected, showing he still has some acrobatic athleticism left in his 32-year-old body..
The Union caught a break from Chivas' attack shortly thereafter as McKenzie almost clotheslined Michael Farfan two yards from Chivas' 18, giving Philadelphia a very dangerous freekick. Adu took the freekick, hitting the wall.
There was some debate over whether or not Adu should have taken the freekick, given that Keon Daniel had also lined up to put the ball on goal.
An ensuing throw-in eventually leads to a threatening cross by Sheanon Williams, but it went out of play in front of running Adu. The Union proceed to be pummeled relentlessly by Chivas' pressure and possession.
Michael Farfan exploited Chivas' possession by linking up in the midfield and putting on a dribbling clinic up the right side of the box. The 2011 Rookie of the Year nominee beat his marker, turning him along the way, and dribbling around a second player before putting a low ball across the goal mouth.
Riley tried a slide tackle to block Farfan's cross from reaching a waiting Adu, but his best intentions turned into a slow roll back to Adu's foot. Adu decided to once touch backheel the ball toward the goal, which found the back of the net after deflecting in off of the post.
The Union couldn't do much more in the first half, as Chivas once again went back on the offensive and maintained their large amount of possession.
LaBrocca attempted a volley that hurtled toward the left side netting of the Union's goal and MacMath could only parry it out of play for a corner. The corner resulted in a mess in front of net scared for a second because the ball could not be corralled by the Union.
Gaddis took the ball on the ensuing play and made a strong, straight run at Chivas' left back Heath Pearce. His run was stopped by Pearce, but Gaddis made it known that he was not afraid to play offensively.
The half finished with Gabe Farfan being fouled hard by Moreno, who recieved a yellow card for his reckless challenge.
The beginning of the second half was not favorable to the Union, as they started off with some sloppy play and lost the ball twice within the first 20 seconds. Despite the sloppy effort, the Union were able to push forward a bit, but their best effort was killed off by a poor first touch by Pajoy.
Their next notable attack was forced backward to midfield, where Miller Bolanos - influential and formidable throughout - stole the ball. He appeared to have been fouled by Garfan on the play, but there was no call on it by the referee (who missed many fouls during the game).
Bolanos began to take over the role of creator for the Goats and at times may have over extend himself during the second half.
He tried to use the outside of his right foot to one time a ball toward the Union net, which was barely blocked by Gabriel Farfan, who managed to control and move the ball out of Philadelphia's final third.
Smith sent in a very threatening freekick into the box, on the following Chivas attack, and Moreno's head strikes a few feet wide of the goal.
The Union quickly moved up the field, after Moreno's miss, showing off some flair and speed along the way. Pajoy flicked a quick ball to Williams inside of the box off of a long ball. Williams converted the pass, but it was called back for offside.
Chivas went back on the attack - the early part of the second half was a lot of back-and-forth play - and Gaddis stuffed LaBrocca's offensive attempts. MacMath followed up Gaddis' defensive display with a huge save on Blair Gavin's excellent freekick.
MacMath was forced to his left to attempt a save on the freekick and stretched out to tip it away from the goal. It was a beautiful showing of the former University of Maryland star's athleticism and shot stopping ability.
The corner off of MacMath's save of Gavin's shot was cleared by the Union and they go on the counter attack from it.
Nothing comes of the counter, a theme for the Union this season.
The next series of play saw Valdes being carded for a reckless use of his elbow on a header. It was well deserved considering the problems he's had in the past year with opponents doing the same to him.
Philadelphia surged forward after the card. The second half was ripe with possession, almost acting as a foil to the first half domination by Chivas.
Michael Farfan floated around the middle of the field, lining up a shot. As he approached the semi-circle in front of the box, Farfan let go a low, hard shot toward the left side of the Chivas goal. His right footed effort was saved by Kennedy.
Pajoy received the ball on the next run of play, showing a bit of speed against McKenzie, but the defender won the battle through a pretty slide tackle. Chivas picked up the ball and moved the flow of the game in the opposite direction.
Bolanos sent in a high cross that dipped directly onto Juan Pablo Angel's head, but the striker appeared rusty - it was his first game back from a concussion that sidelined him after the first game of the season - and put it wide, despite having had everyone beat.
Following up Angel's miss, Pajoy and Michael Farfan combined together for a sequence full of flair, dribbling and passing, but the striker was called for being offside.
Moreno, who was stellar in his positioning, had another very close attempt, just missing the goal. Pajoy forearm shivered Bolanos after being nutmeg'd by the midfielder as the play continued on.
Head coach Peter Nowak decided it was time to take out Gabriel Gomez, who was visibly upset at being taken out for Amobi Okugo. Gomez walked past coaching staff without glancing at them or shaking any hands.
Okugo took a few minutes to get fully into the game. While the midfield regrouped after the substitution, Smith found the ball at his feet within Philadelphia's area, but Gaddis blocked his straight away attempt.
Williams given a yellow for taking down Moreno. The defender took out Moreno's standing leg and both went down to the ground.
The referee was not able to see Moreno's hand grasping a large amount of Williams' jersey during the play. Angel showed off his rustiness once again, sending the Moreno foul freekick into the stands.
Keon Daniel was the next Union player to receive a card. In the 75th minute, the Trinidad and Tobago international was given a straight red card for a poor challenge on Moreno.
Daniel had lost the ball and pursued it after it was passed to Smith. The 25-year-old swiped at Smith with his left foot, catching the Chivas attacking midfielder's trailing foot with studs and from behind.
Down to ten men, the Union had plenty of work to do to retain their 1-0 lead. Bolanos refused to let them go about the last 15 minutes without some danger, though.
Bolanos led Chivas down the field and had yet another attempt on goal. He one touched a long ball, and ripped it over the crossbar.
Chris Albright was brought into the game as part of a bunker strategy by Nowak for the last ten minutes, taking Adu off for the veteran defender.
The defensive addition did little to stop the forward momentum of Chivas USA, as Bolanos got in deep with another cross. This one was blocked out for a corner by Valdes. then headed out for another corner. Union were able to go on the counter following the two corners.
Only ten minutes after Daniel's red card, the Union have another card worthy tackle happen. Gabriel Farfan received a straight red for a two footed, reckless challenge on Riley.
The left back had a foul on a standing tackle, then proceeded to go two footed in on Riley to win the ball seconds later. The incident happened right in front of the team benches and players from both sides surrounded Farfan and a shoving match began.
Nowak ran onto the field and "lost his mind there," according to the Chivas USA announcers. The head coach was ejected from the game for going onto the field and joining into the episode that occurred.
Down to nine men with three minutes remaining in the game, the Union were forced to pull back and hope for the best.
Generation Adidas rookie striker Casey Townsend came on for Chivas for some offense, and center defneder McKenzie went off. Chivas looked to take advantage of the Union's discipline problems late.
Philadelphia began to counter forward with Okugo, who had an interesting push forward by himself, killing some time. Unfortunately for Okugo, the counter was a lonely time as the other eight Union outfield players stayed back in their own final third.
Smith, with a decision that purely embodied the desperate and hasty play of Chivas in the attacking third, attempted a long shot that, once again, flew over the Union crossbar.
The fourth official held up his electronic board, signaling that five minutes had been added on for stoppage time, The Union substituted Jack McInerney for Michael Farfan, using their final substitution on fresh legs up front.
Chivas managed to get deep into the Union's final third after the substitution and the backline and MacMath were forced to handle multiple crosses and headers. MacMath leapt up and easily grabbed one of the loose headers, putting to rest one of the home team's final chances on goal.
With two minutes left, McInerney almost found Okugo during a quick counter. Chivas got the ball back and went on the counter themselves and Smith crossed the ball to Angel, who headed the ball wide of the goal, but the Goats got a corner from it.
Okugo ran forward on the counter after the Union cleared the ball and sent it up the field to McInerney. The young striker slowed down to kill time, effectively ending the game.
Final Score: Union 1 - 0 Chivas USA
The Union got their second win of the season despite two red cards (75th, 85th) and their first road win of the season.