for this game

Cunliffe scores twice as Chivas moves atop the West

Oct 7, 2007 - 4:09 AM SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) - With playoff positioning still uncertain, Chivas USA got a major contribution - make that two contributions - from an unlikely source: rookie forward John Cunliffe.

Making just the third start of his MLS career, Cunliffe scored two goals as Chivas outlasted Real Salt Lake, 3-2, in a battle of third-year franchises on Saturday night.

Chivas USA (15-6-6) grabbed an early 1-0 lead in the 12th minute of play, Cunliffe came through in even bigger fashion early in the second half.

"We have a deep squad this year. Some of these young guys have been waiting for their opportunity, and (Saturday) they got it, and they got three goals," Chivas coach Preki said. "You can't ask for more than that away from home."

After watching Salt Lake tie the game at 1-1 on Chris Brown's fifth goal of the season, Cunliffe took his defender 1-on-1 inside the box and blasted a shot past goalkeeper Chris Seitz in the 54th minute.

"We knew it was going to be a difficult game," Cunliffe said. "But I got two goals - I just took two chances (that) were just set up by other players on the team."

Cunliffe was only in the starting lineup because Chivas was without its two leading scorers, forwards Maykel Galindo and Ante Razov - who have combined for 23 goals this season.

"(Cunliffe) played pretty good," Preki said. "He played a decent game, he scored two nice goals."

Just four minutes later, midfielder Paulo Nagamura added an insurance goal from 35 yards out, lofting a long shot just underneath the crossbar to forge a 3-1 edge.

Robbie Findley's sliding tally in the 63rd minute pulled Salt Lake within one goal and Yura Movsisyan nearly scored the equalizer in the 89th minute, as his attempt from 10 yards out clanged off the crossbar and into netminder Brad Guzan's arms.

"Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good," Guzan said. "We knew it wasn't going to be a pretty game, but three points is three points."

The win helped Chivas pull three points ahead of idle Houston (14-7-6) for the top spot in the Western Conference. Houston will host Los Angeles on Sunday.

"I think it's important that we keep the momentum we've been playing with, and get good results, especially on the road," Cunliffe said. "It was difficult without Maykel and Ante. But to come here and get a result shows what good depth we've got."

In its first home defeat to Chivas, Salt Lake (5-14-9) is just playing out the sting after being eliminated from playoff contention last week.






  • Durango Cunliffe is awesome! Just want to see more of him playing...look forward to more of that next season.

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