It was the shortest trip of all the Major League Soccer sides in the tournament, but by no means was it an easy one as Chivas USA squeezed out a 1-0 victory against Ventura County Fusion, one of three remaining amateur clubs in the tournament.
The result was important, though, for Chivas USA, who had previously been upset in the first match in four of their six previous tournament appearances, including their only previous match against an amateur opponent – a penalty kick tiebreaker loss to Dallas Roma (USASA) after a scoreless draw in 2006 that stands as one of five such upsets.
The Fusion came into the match riding a 3-1 overtime victory against the Los Angeles Blues of USL Pro, making Chivas USA take them seriously with stars Juan Pablo Angel and Juan Agudelo in the lineup for the match.
Agudelo would play an immediate factor, sending a through ball in the 13th minute to Cesar Romero, who nutmegged Ventura County goalkeeper Earl Edwards for what would stand as the only goal of the contest.
The Fusion showed great poise in not being star-struck. They nearly had an equalizer in the 20th minute Travis Bowen forced a save from backup netminder Tim Melia on a breakaway after John Alexander Valencia slipped.
Francisco Lopez, the overtime hero in the first two rounds, also had a chance at an equalizer, breaking through the defense and forcing another stop from Melia in the 71st minute.
The victory for Chivas USA, oddly, puts them into the shoes of rival Los Angeles Galaxy, sending them across the country to WakeMed Soccer Park to face the Carolina RailHawks, who rallied to defeat the Galaxy, 2-1.