Earthquakes take down LAFC 2-1

San Jose Earthquakes get by LAFC at Pay Pal Park in San Jose on Sun Aug 8, 2021 the Quakes improve their record to 5-6-7 tenth place in the MLS Western Conference (@LAFC image)

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE—The San Jose Earthquakes welcomed their newest addition to their team with a 2-1 win over LAFC on Sunday afternoon at Pay Pal Park.

San Jose traded for Portland Timbers forward Jeremy Ebobisse this past Thursday in exchange for $667k of General Allocation Money (GAM) in 2022 and $500k of GAM in 2023. The also rewarded Ebobisse with a new contract through the 2024 MLS season.

San Jose won at home for the first time since May 1st. They are now unbeaten in seven straight matches (2-0-5) to give them 21 points and tied for eight place in the Western Conference. LAFC have lost two matches in a row and are winless in its last five.

The Quakes were looking for more scoring punch and head coach Matias Almeyda has another weapon added to his arsenal. Ebobissse has scored 26 goals to go along with his eight assists, including five game-winning goals and two game-winning assists, across 88 appearances (54 starts). He has scored 23 goals in 65 appearances since the start of the 2019 season, tied for 11th most in MLS during that time.

Ebobisse’s teammates were able to score two goals in the first 28 minutes of the first half.

San Jose (5-7-6) drew first blood in the 11th minute. Off a set piece, Cristian Espinoza serviced a ball into the box where fullback Nathan lifted his foot high enough to get a piece of the ball that went past LAFC goalie Tomás Romero for his second goal of the season.

Nathan’s goal came two minutes after Cade Cowell set up Jackson Yueill who shot the ball off the crossbar.

The Quakes doubled its lead in the 28th minute when Espinoza intercepted a headed ball down the right wing and cut back into the middle, making Tristan Blackmon slide past him, before finding a wide open Chofis who buried the ball into the lower left corner for his team leading fifth goal of the season.

“I think it’s fundamental that we continue to keep the order that we’ve had in these last few matches. The last three or four matches were against really good teams, the best in the league in my opinion. We’ve done well. We’ve been able to take the victory in two of them, so I think it’s about keeping order and continue to be a team that gets better physically,” Espinoza said.

Ebobisse made his Quakes debut in the 36th minute when he substituted in for Luciano Abecasis to a standing ovation from the Earthquakes faithful.

“I think he Is a player that will give San Jose a lot,” said Almeyda on Ebobisse’s debut. “Whenever a player wins on their debut, that is important. He and his teammates gave their maximum effort.”

Three minutes later, LAFC (6-7-5) cut the lead in half thanks to an own goal by Jackson Yueill. Carlos Vela sent in a free kick from 35 yards out into the middle of the box and unfortunately for San Jose, the ball deflected off of Yueill’s head and into the back of the net.

Latiff Blessing had a great opportunity to score the equalizer in the 65th minute when he cut back on his right foot inside the box and outdeked two San Jose defenders. However, his point blank shot was stopped by Quakes goalie JT Marcinkowski.

Ebobisse said it has been a nice, easy transition since coming to San Jose.

“It was a really warm welcome from everyone, starting with the fans and getting into the locker room with players, coaches. Everyone in the team environment has been super open and have been trying to make it as easy as possible for me to feel settled in. Once we get onto the field, we all speak the same language, the language of the sport and we start to see different connections popping up. It’s just really exciting and refreshing to be in this environment. There’s more for me to give from a personality standpoint and then from a footballing standpoint. The first couple of days, with the hectic nature of packing up, taking a flight and getting acquainted with a new system, meeting everyone and getting to know different names and different tendencies, I think it’s been a relatively smooth transition,” Ebobisse said.

LAFC did not generate any scoring chances in the last nine minutes of stoppage time.

Marcinkowski finished the match with six saves on six shots on target to earn the victory. Romero made two saves on four shots in the losing effort.

GAME NOTES: San Jose had six corner kicks. LAFC had three.

The Quakes extended their winning streak against LAFC to three. San Jose is now 3-5-0 all-time vs. LAFC, including a 2-2-0 record at home.

Chofis’ goal marked the first game-winning goal of his MLS career.

Espinoza tallied assists on Nathan and Chofis’ goals, marking his fifth and sixth assists of the season and 27th and 28th of his MLS career. It marks the first time an Earthquakes player tallied two or more assists in a single match since April 24, 2021 (Cade Cowell; two vs. D.C. United). Espinoza has now tallied six assists, including two game-winning assists, in six regular season appearances vs. LAFC.

Yueill made his 100th MLS appearance, starting and played the full 90 minutes.

UP NEXT: San Jose continue its three-game homestand on Friday 8/13 as they host the Vancouver Whitecaps at 7:30pm at Pay Pal Park.

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