Chivas USA used its penultimate game as a tryout of sorts for former Cal State Northridge goalkeeper Kevin Guppy. He gave up three goals to Chris Wondolowski.
What does that mean? Nothing, really. Guppy, a Major League Soccer pool goalkeeper who has been on the Galaxy's and Chivas' bench the past two seasons, had an admirable MLS debut, making a half-dozen saves -- half of them really fine stops -- to bail out the Goats' porous defense.
It wasn't enough, of course, not with Wondolowski coming off the bench to make a major statement in San Jose's 3-0 triumph at Santa Clara University's Buck Shaw Stadium.
Here's what we learned Wednesday night:
1. MVP? MAYBE: Wondolowski, an injury substitute for Cornell Glen near the end of the first half, netted his 15th, 16th and 17th goals of the season -- pulling him even with Galaxy star Edson Buddle in the Golden Boot (goal-scoring championship) race. And all that talk from up north about "Wondo" deserving MVP consideration? OK, we're on board.
Without the sixth-year forward, the Quakes would be nowhere near the playoffs -- they've struggled to find goals from everyone else. In 13 wins, Wondolowski has scored the winner nine times.
2. GUPPY FOR THE GOATS?: Chivas gave Guppy a half in last month's friendly against Guadalajara, and he rewarded them with two saves in the penalty-kick shootout triumph after a 0-0 draw. The Chino Hills High School product, a two-time Big West Goalkeeper of the Year at CSUN, was just as good, maybe better, this time.
He made impressive stops on Glen in the 19th minute, Scott Sealy in the 44th and on Arturo Alvarez's volley in the 58th. He got a piece of Wondolowski's second goal, in the 59th, but no blame on the 55th-minute penalty kick (after defender Michael Umaña latched onto "Wondo" and wouldn't let go) or the 72nd-minute volley.
Guppy has been a man without a club: As a pool goalkeeper, he's available to any MLS team that needs a keeper (becuase of injury or suspension), and he has spent the past two months on Chivas' roster, since former UC Santa Barbara star Dan Kennedy (Placentia/El Dorado HS) suffered a season-ending torn biceps. Starter Zach Thornton is 37, and he and Kennedy could be left unprotected for next month's expansion draft, so the Goats could soon need another keeper, and Guppy might be a keeper.
3. LAST PLACE: Yes, the Goats (8-17-4) are still in the Western Conference cellar. And now they'll need help to escape. If Houston wins or draws in its finale Saturday against Seattle, Chivas finishes last no matter what they accomplish against Chicago on Saturday night at Home Depot Center.
4. QUAKES ARE FIFTH: The victory sent San Jose (13-9-7) to fifth place in the West, one point ahead of Colorado. As we've noted before, fifth is the place to be -- since Columbus is playing so poorly. But only three points separate fourth from sixth in the West, and nothing will be solved until Saturday.