[SUPERLIGA] He barely lasted into the second half, yet Giancarlo Maldonado -- the Venezuelan signed by Chivas USA earlier this month -- made his minutes count by scoring the only goal of a 1-0 Chivas USA SuperLiga win over Pachuca Wednesday at Home Depot Center.
By kickoff time, neither team could have advanced to the semis, since Houston’s 1-0 win over Puebla locked up the top two spots in Group A. Houston plays Morelia and New England hosts Puebla in games to be played in early August.
In the seventh minute, left back Ante Jazic played a long ball out of the back that floated between central defenders Juan Carlos Rojas and Marco Ivan Perez. Maldonado ran onto the bouncing ball and slammed into the net first-time. His replacement, Chukwudi Chijindu, hit the bar as both teams maintained a decent level of energy if not expertise for what was essentially a training exercise.
Chivas USA gets back to league action Saturday with a critical match at Real Salt Lake.
Chivas USA 1, Pachuca 0. Goal: Maldonado 7.
Chivas USA – Kennedy; Trujillo, Delgado, Borja, Jazic (Flores, 46), Espinoza (Mayen, 72), Zemanski, Gavin, Padilla, Romero, Maldonado (Chijindu, 55).
Pachuca – Cota; Santillan, Rojas, Perez, Arreola, Montes (Rodriguez, 64), Luna (Herrera, 59), Vidal, Pena, Benitez (Martinez, 46), Gomez.
Referee: Marlon Mejia.
Final Group A Standings: 1. Houston (2-0-1, 7 points); 2. Puebla (2-1-0, 6 pts.); Chivas USA (1-1-1, 4 pts.); Pachuca (0-3-0, 0 pts.).
Houston and Puebla advance to SuperLiga semifinals.