Carson, Calif. • The goalkeeper came up to take the free kick.
Dan Kennedy blasted an awkward shot from 20 yards out directly at the wall of players standing in front of one goal and was left scrambling back to his own. And yet, somehow in the aftermath, there was a perfect cross and a header that needed a dive to be saved.
Welcome to Chivas USA.
Unorthodox and dangerous play had the team, as RSL coach Jason Kreis said, “living and dying by the sword” once again Sunday night.
And RSL was happy to be the latest Goat slayers, beating Chivas 4-1 in front of a sparse crowd at the Home Depot Center.
Salt Lake got off to its fastest start of the season when midfielder Javier Morales played a ball that found plenty of space against the three-man Chivas back line. Ned Grabavoy calmly slotted home the fourth-minute goal, his first MLS score since 2011.
RSL stretched its lead just minutes after coming out of the locker room.
Forward Joao Plata, who has seen a number of point-blank shots on goal stopped this year, took a Kyle Beckerman pass and beat Kennedy for his first goal in an RSL uniform.
But the attack-minded Chivas would not be denied forever.
The Goats tested Rimando often in the first half, and saw their best chance of the opening 45 minutes skim off the top half of the crossbar.
In the 55th minute, Chivas midfielder Jorge Villafana got on the end of a cross and looped a header over Rimando and into the back of the net.
Chivas continued to push numbers forward after that.
But RSL’s Robbie Findley, a part of two botched attacks after coming on as a second-half substitute, put his team back in control game when he poked in a Yordany Alvarez cross in the 78th minute.
Grabavoy iced the game in stoppage time with his second goal of the game.
The victory was Salt Lake’s second road win in three tries. RSL beat New England last week before giving up a late lead and falling in Montreal on Saturday.
RSL (6-5-2) ended its three-game, coast-to-coast road swing with its second victory of the season over Chivas.