CARSON, Calif. — With five regular starters either injured, suspended or playing in the World Cup, Real Salt Lake discovered that losing a sixth player was very costly indeed.
Chivas USA exploited its one-man advantage after RSL midfielder Luke Mulholland was ejected early, and earned a 1-0 win Saturday night in front of 5,689 at the StubHub Center.
The loss, combined with Seattle's 1-0 win over D.C. United, dropped RSL (6-3-7) 10 points behind the first-place Sounders in Major League Soccer's Western Conference. RSL now shares second place with the Colorado Rapids, who defeated Vancouver, 2-0.
The visitors began the game without three of their key defensive players. Goalkeeper Nick Rimando and midfielder Kyle Beckerman are representing the United States in the World Cup, with defender Tony Beltran serving a suspension for receiving two yellow cards June 7 against Portland.
Two offensive players, Alvaro Saborio and Ned Grabavoy, were nursing an injured right foot and a strained hip flexor, respectively.
RSL lost a sixth player when Mulholland received a red card in the ninth minute for tripping Chivas USA's Martin Rivero. Mulholland will miss the team's next game July 4 against New England at Rio Tinto Stadium.
With Mulholland gone, Chivas USA (3-7-5) scored in the 35th minute. Tony Lochhead intercepted a pass, ran down the left touch line and passed to Erick Torres, who volleyed the ball with his right foot from 14 yards inside the far post.1 comment on this story
Torres' 10th goal of the season ties him with Cuauhtemoc Blanco for the most career goals scored by a Mexican in MLS at 17.
RSL's best chance to score came in the 89th minute after Javier Morales passed with his right heel to Joao Plata as Plata entered the penalty area. But defender Donald Toia marked Plata tightly and tapped the ball to charging goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, who fell on it as Plata and Toia tumbled.
Chivas USA not only extended RSL's winless streak to six games in all competitions. It also ended a five-game losing streak to the Utah club.