Real Salt Lake 0, Chivas USA 1May 10, 2009 - 5:59 AM By LUIS BUENO STATS MLS Writer
CARSON, Calif. (STATS) - For Zach Thornton, the shutouts keep piling up. The same can be said for Chivas USA's win total this season as they threaten to run away with the Western Conference.
Thornton made three saves for his sixth shutout of the season, and Paulo Nagamura scored as Chivas USA defeated Real Salt Lake 1-0 on Saturday night.
Chivas (7-1-1) has allowed only three goals this season, and became the first team in MLS to break the 20-point barrier while putting a stranglehold on the West. Chivas has opened up a nine-point lead on second-place Seattle, an expansion club which hosts Los Angeles on Sunday.
No one on Chivas, though, is willing to call any victory routine - especially their 35-year-old goalkeeper.
"It's never routine," said Thornton, who entered the match ranked second all-time in MLS in wins and third in shutouts. "Never."
The toughest of Thornton's saves came midway through the second half when he pushed a shot by Javier Morales wide of the goal.
Although the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Thornton left his feet and fully extended himself to knock the ball away, Chivas coach Preki Radosavljevic said the team has come to expect that kind of effort from Thornton.
"It was a good save. Zach has been rock-solid for us. There was never a question," Preki said. "We had a very good look from the bench with that shot. I would say it was a very routine save for Zach."
Real Salt Lake (3-4-1) dropped to 0-4 on the road with all losses coming by shutout.
Forward Yura Movsisyan had two shots and one on goal during the game, and was a presence up front for Real. Ultimately, he couldn't find his scoring touch, but said he could have changed the outcome of the match.
"They're a good team. That's why they've got seven wins," Movsisyan said. "At the end of the day, if I put those chances away it's not going to be that easy for them to get that result."
Movsisyan's inability to finish has plagued Real this year, particularly on the road.
"It's still another game for us. It doesn't matter home or away," he said. " We've shown we can score and we can score a lot. If you get one on the road, you'll get a lot more. That's all there is to it."
Chivas capitalized on one of its first opportunities in the second half to score the game's lone goal in the 54th minute. Eduardo Lillingston sent a cross to the front of the penalty area, where the ball skipped off Real's Kyle Beckerman and toward Sacha Kljestan, who headed it back to the front of the goal.
Nagamura sent a 22-yard shot into the back of the net. It was his third goal of the season, setting a career high.
"We're hard to play against," Nagamura said. "We work for each other for 90 minutes. We make it tough for the other team to create anything. Our mentality has been great from the first game of the season."
The game was a rematch of last season's West semifinals when Real knocked out Chivas with a 3-2 aggregate victory. Real had tied Chivas 2-2 at Home Depot Center.
REAL SALT LAKE 0
CHIVAS 1 FINAL
May 10 12:29 AM
- MLS UPDATE
REAL SALT LAKE 0
CHIVAS GOAL: Paulo Nagamura in the 54th minute
Real Salt Lake 0, Chivas USA 1 2nd - 54'May 9 11:49 PM
REAL SALT LAKE 0
CHIVAS 0 HALFTIME
May 9 11:30 PM
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