Two teams scrapping to join the list of serious championship contenders met at the Meadowlands Thursday night, and only one of them looked the part.
Ante Razov and Sacha Kljestan scored as a smothering defense led by Jesse Marsch, Claudio Suarez and Jonathan Bornsteinblanked Red Bull New York, 2-0, for only the second road win posted in 2007 by Chivas USA.
Three potent headers from Juan Pablo Angelresulted in a goalline clearance, goalpost rebound, and Brad Guzan save. Guzan also saved a point-blank shot from Jozy Altidore and was rescued by the crossbar on another Altidore effort.
RBNY (8-7-3) failed to score for the fourth time in the last six games despite fielding Altidore, Angel and John Wolyniec in a three-forward alignment, and bringing on speedy midfielder Dane Richards (for Altidore) and attacking maestro Clint Mathis as second-half subs.
Razov scored his 104th MLS goal, third-best on the all-time list, with a firm header from a Maykel Galindo cross in the 38th minute, and set up the clinching tally in the final minutes by sending Kljestan through on a breakaway with a return pass. Chivas USA (8-5-3) survived a 19-6 disparity in shots with some rugged tackling, a few bits of luck and six saves by Guzan.
Outside backs Alex Zotinca and Bornstein controlled the corners and Suarez teamed up well with Shavar Thomas to repel crosses and stay tight on RBNY's forwards. A poor game by Dave Van Den Bergh starved NYRB of any impetus from the left side, and the insertion of Mathis after an hour produced little. Angel has failed to score in his last five MLS games.
Chivas USA continues a run of four road games at Kansas City Sunday with another chance to prove its mettle. It beat NYRB for the first time in its history and is now 5-1-2 against the tough Eastern Conference.
For the Red Bulls, who beat D.C. United, 1-0, at home last weekend to rekindle hopes of building momentum, this was a home loss - its third of the season - that really hurt.
Defenders Jeff Parke and Carlos Mendes were out with injuries and the patchwork back line of Chris Leitch, Hunter Freeman, Seth Stammler and Kevin Goldthwaite betrayed an otherwise solid effort by faltering twice. A resolute and opportunistic opponent did the rest.
July 26 in East Rutherford, N.J.
New York 0 Chivas USA 2.Goals: Razov (Galindo) 38, Kljestan (Razov) 87.
New York - Conway, Freeman, Leitch, Stammler, Goldthwaite (Kovalenko, 72), Vide (Mathis, 60), Reyna, van den Bergh, Angel, Wolyniec, Altidore (Richards, 59).
Chivas USA -Guzan, Suarez, Thomas, Bornstein, Zotinca (Lopez, 83), Kljestan, Vaughn, Marsch, Mendoza, Galindo (Merlin, 73), Razov (Hernandez, 92+).
Yellow Cards:New York - Stammler 12; Chivas USA - Galindo 69.
Referee: Jair Marrufo.