A thrilling five-goal second half saw Chivas USA sacrifice a two-goal lead before a late header from Bobby Burling lifted the Goats to a 3-2 win over the visiting Chicago Fire.
Erick Torres and Thomas McNamara also scored for Chivas USA, which picked up its first MLS win since Sept. 8 and its maiden win for caretaker manager Wilmer Cabrera.
Benji Joya and Quincy Amarikwa scored for Chicago, which falls to 0-1.
Chivas USA held the advantage in shots, corners, passes and… well, nearly everything against a Chicago squad that looked lost at times.
It certainly wasn’t a banner day for Chicago’s Gonzalo Segares, who put his arm on the back of Erick Torres after the Chivas USA forward had beaten him and was clear on goal. It didn’t take a ton to put Torres on the ground, but it was a clear penalty and the conversion was complete after a long run-up to the ball. Segares earned a yellow for his troubles.
And it didn’t take long for the Goats to double their advantage as 2014 MLS SuperDraft second-round pick Thomas McNamara struck for his first MLS goal. The Clemson product was cool, calm and collected in close in the 59th minute.
But Chicago didn’t wilt, finally beating Chivas USA keeper Dan Kennedy, who got a hand on Alex’s shot only to watch Benji Joya tap home the rebound in the 64th. The 20-year-old San Jose, Calif. native was playing in his first MLS match on loan from Liga MX’s Santos Laguna. It was 2-1 in a suddenly-fun match.
And just six minutes later, the game was tied. Quincy Amarikwa dribbled into a mass of Goats outside the 18 before firing hard to left of a partially-screened Kennedy.
Segares could’ve seen red in the 74th minute when he leapt to block a Chivas shot and had the ball strike his arm, which was deemed close enough to his body. The Fire headed the ensuing kick wide, leading to a corner.
The clock was about to strike 88 when Bobby Burling rose high above the Fire defense to head home Eric Avila’s corner kick. Chivas had reclaimed the lead with precious minutes to spare in Carson, and it would be enough to give them a season-opening win.