Justin Braun scored his second hat trick of the year as Chivas USA defeated the Houston Dynamo 3-0 in front of 11,013 at The Home Depot Center on Saturday night. The victory marked the first time that Chivas USA had defeated the Dynamo in league play since August 26, 2006, snapping a 12-game regular season winless streak against Dominic Kinnear's men and extending the Goats' unbeaten streak in league play to five straight.
The Rojiblancos started the match on the front foot, making several daring runs at the Houston defense. In the 14th minute, Michael Lahoud tested Tally Hall with a shot from distance. However, the Dynamo’s All-Star goalkeeper was able to parry away the chance to keep the match scoreless.
Houston began to push toward the opposite net in the 24th minute, resulting in a Geoff Cameron shot that barely missed the Rojiblancos' net.
But Chivas USA got on the board first when Ante Jazic — in his first match back from a calf injury — overlapped down the left sideline and sent in a well-placed cross to Braun, who slipped past the defense to get a slim touch for the goal. Braun struck again less than 10 minutes later in the 40th minute when Jermaine Taylor's pass deflected off Blair Gavin and headed toward the Chivas USA striker, who broke in alone on goal and sent a looping shot over Hall.
In the second half, the Dynamo attempted to cut into the Rojiblancos' lead but were unable to break through. Their best chance came in the 61st minute when rookie striker Will Bruin broke away from the defense and fired a shot that went slightly wide of Dan Kennedy’s net.
Chivas USA nearly added to its lead in the 67th minute when Jorge Flores launched an ambitious shot from 25 yards out that forced a save from Hall, who needed to cover the rebound from a charging Nick LaBrocca.
The difficult night for the Dynamo continued in the 70th minute when Jamaican midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson brought down LaBrocca, earning his second yellow card and an expulsion from the match. Chivas USA put a capper on the night in the 87th minute when, against the run of play, Jazic led a Chivas counter and sent in another cross to Braun, who finished for his third goal of the night.
With their victory, the Goats improved to 6-7-8 and leapfrogged Houston and San Jose into 10th place in the overall league table. Chivas USA will now embark on a five-game road trip, starting with a July 31 date at Pizza Hut Park against FC Dallas. The Dynamo, meanwhile, saw their own four-game unbeaten streak snapped and fall to 5-7-9. They head back to Robertson Stadium for a date with the Seattle Sounders on July 30.
Houston Dynamo (5-7-9) vs. Chivas USA (6-7-8)
July 23, 2011 -- The Home Depot Center, Carson CA
CHV -- Justin Braun 5 (Ante Jazic 4) 31
CHV -- Justin Braun 6 (Blair Gavin 2) 40
CHV -- Justin Braun 7 (Ante Jazic 5, Francisco Mendoza 2) 86
Houston Dynamo -- Tally Hall, Kofi Sarkodie (Alex Dixon 72),
Jermaine Taylor, Andre Hainault, Corey Ashe, Danny Cruz (Adam Moffat
67), Geoff Cameron, Je-Vaughn Watson, Brad Davis, Cam Weaver, Will
Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Boswell, Hunter Freeman, Jason Garey, Eddie Robinson, Tyler Deric.
Chivas USA -- Dan Kennedy, Zarek Valentin, Michael Umana, Heath
Pearce, Ante Jazic, Michael Lahoud, Simon Elliott, Blair Gavin (Paulo
Nagamura 80), Jorge Flores (Francisco Mendoza 72), Justin Braun (Chris
Cortez 87), Nick LaBrocca.
Substitutes Not Used: Andrew Boyens, Marcos Mondaini, Mariano Trujillo, Zach Thornton.
HOU -- Je-Vaughn Watson (caution; Tactical Foul) 43
HOU -- Je-Vaughn Watson (ejection; Second Caution) 70
CHV -- Justin Braun (caution; Reckless Tackle) 81
Referee: Abbey Okulaja
Referee's Assistants: Ian Anderson; Jason Cullum
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal
Weather: Clear-and-70 degrees
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial