MLS: Harris scores in stoppage time to help Goats to first win since July 5.
CARSON - It seems like only six months ago ChivasUSA began to talk about the depth it would boast for the 2008 MLS season.
Almost on the eve of September, it was on display, at least to a degree.
After a night of frustration from missed chances, Chivas midfielder Atiba Harris had his chip shot sneak through the arms of goalkeeper Greg Sutton in the final minute of stoppage time to lift Chivas to a 2-1 win over Toronto FC in front of 12,561 at Home Depot Center.
For once, Chivas could look at the 18 shots that went awry and still come up with a smile.
"Well, the thing you get concerned with mostly is when you don't create chances," Chivas coach Preki said. "Tonight we had many opportunities and it was one of those nights where it was just `Man, we can't catch a break.' And then the break came in the last seconds of the game."
Forward Alecko Eskandarian, acquired in January, finally got to start a game following his recovery from sports hernia surgery.
Chivas had figured on Eskandarian being there all along, considering Maykel Galindo had sports hernia surgery of his own to deal with.
Eskandarian's first-half goal erased a brief deficit, then Chivas spent the rest of the night squandering chances until Sacha Kljestan lined up for a corner kick.
His service was dummied by defender Bobby Burling and Harris clipped in his shot from about 12 yards out, which eluded Sutton and trickled across the line to end Chivas' winless streak at six games.
It was such a sudden turn of events that Harris thought it was forward Justin Braun who let the pass through.
"I shouted for Justin to leave it," Harris said. "I just wanted to get it on target and hopefully it goes in."
"Oh my God," Eskandarian said. "I was blowing from the sidelines, I wanted that ball to go in so bad."
Suddenly, Chivas (7-9-6) is alone in third place with its first victory since July 5. Toronto fell to 7-10-5.
Not that Chivas is out of the woods yet with its exhaustive schedule. The Goats will be on display again Tuesday in the CONCACAF Champions League trying to stay alive in the 24-team tournament with a meeting against Tauro FC of Panama in the second leg of their series.
But in MLS terms, Chivas has suddenly placed itself in playoff position if the postseason started today.
And the team is even getting a break or two. Kljestan picked up a yellow card when he brought down Amado Guevara from behind in the first half. By accumulation of cautions, Kljestan would have to miss Chivas' next game at Toronto next Saturday; he'll serve his suspension while playing for the U.S. national team in Cuba, then be eligible to return as scheduled Sept. 11.
In addition, there were no theatrics, let alone threats, from Toronto's Carlos Ruiz in his return to Carson.
Ruiz was playing his first match since being sent north by the Galaxy in the first move of the Bruce Arena era.