Photo credit: @SJEarthquakes
By Pearl Allison Lo
LOS ANGELES — The first team to clinch a playoff spot, LAFC showed no signs of slowing down versus the San Jose Earthquakes in front of an ecstatic home crowd Wednesday with their fifth straight win.
After LAFC thumped the Quakes 5-0 in their first meeting this season, LAFC certainly showed what they thought of San Jose as part of Heineken® Rivalry Week by nearly duplicating the result.
The last time the two teams met the Quakes were also winless in three games and LAFCś Carlos Vela scored a brace to round out a 3-0 first half as well.
To add to the drama and entertainment, this match had some spice and sugar.
It started when one of LAFC’s players slid in between Vako and keeper Daniel Vega in the 37th minute. It was a possible handball that was not called or reviewed outwardly. This fired up several people on the sidelines, leading to a lot of arguing and then eventually the translator and head coach Matías Almeyda being kicked out. Later it was reported that the League reviewed the play as it was ongoing and found no penalty.
To add insult to injury, after the drama on the sidelines, Vela made another appearance as he put on a show, making moves against Florian Jungwirth, skirting Vega and tapping the ball in past Nick Lima in the 41st minute.
Vela finished with a brace and now his league-leading goal total stands at 26. He has four goals in the past three games.
San Jose had three different starters than last game, Danny Hoesen, Marcos López & Anibal Godoy. López had not played with the team since July 27 and Godoy since June 1.
Both had ten shots apiece in the first half and the Quakes outshot their opponent again overall, 22-18.
Recapping the first half, from the center circle, Eduard Atuesta found Josh Pérez in the goal box between two San Jose players. Vega saved the first shot but his two-handed save rebounded right to Diego Rossi who scored before sliding in the 6th minute.
The Quakes had a great sequence on the other end with multiple touches, but could not get close enough to the target.
LAFC persisted, too, with several near chances that San Jose was able to thwart until the 17th minute.
Eventually, a video review awarded a penalty shot to Vela due to a handball by Godoy, which Vela used to put the Quakes in a 2-0 hole.
Jungwirth helped get the ball out of danger in the 31st minute.
Hoesen hit the near post in the 32nd minute. He had the most shots in the first half, four with his last two attempts in the 50th minute.
In the second half, things were a bit quieter as LAFC was able to keep San Jose at bay.
In the 55th minute, LAFC keeper Tyler Miller and then Tristan Blackmon stopped Vako and López respectively.
The Quakes’ Carlos Fierro won a free kick in the 74th minute which was saved. Guram Kashia got the rebound but his shot went high.
It looked like San Jose might emerge from at least the second half unscathed, but Josh Pérez wanted his first MLS goal too. After dribbling, he went around Fierro and found the far corner in the 81st minute.
After the 91st minute, video review went the Quakes way after a called goal by Adama Diomande was retracted, saving San Jose from a complete full circle.
Up Next: Both teams had one suspended player apiece before the game, Walker Zimmerman for LAFC and Judson for the Quakes. San Jose will put their road trip in the rear view mirror and look to get back on track with the first of a two-game homestand Saturday versus the Vancouver Whitecaps at 7:00 p.m.