LAFC forward Cristian Arango brings the ball up the pitch during the second half of a 3-2 victory over San Jose on Saturday, May 28, 2022, at Banc of California Stadium. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Orange County Register)
by Marko Ukalovic
LOS ANGELES — The best in the West resides in Southern California.
Brian Rodríguez scored the eventual game winning goal in the 47th minute to give LAFC a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday afternoon at Banc of California Stadium.
San Jose had its four-match unbeaten streak snapped with their first loss since a 3-0 loss to NYFC back on May 1st. LAFC stayed atop of the Western Conference with its second consecutive win.
Jose Cifuentes set up Rodríguez with a cross pitch pass that left Rodríguez all alone against Quakes goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski. The Uruguayan midfielder’s left footed shot beat Marcinkowksi for his second goal of the season.
LAFC (9-3-2-29 points) drew first blood when they were able to draw a penalty inside the box in the sixth minute. Ryan Hollingshead was tripped up by Jan Gregus. Cristian Arango converted the penalty in the eighth minute for his third goal of the season.
The home team doubled its lead just over five minutes later. Rodríguez found Hollingshead along the left side of the box. Hollingshead beat Marcinkowski with a low shot to the left corner of the net for his fourth goal of the season in the 13th minute.
San Jose (3-6-5) responded three minutes later to cut LAFC’s lead in half. Jamiro Monterio set up Jeremy Ebobisse as the pair had a nice give and go inside the box. Ebobisse finished off the play with a left footed shot that beat LAFC’s goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau for the first of his two goals of the match.
The Earthquakes scored the equalizer off a set piece in the 31st minute. Cristian Espinoza sailed a cross into the middle where an unmarked Ebobisse one-timed the ball into the back of the net with a left footed shot for his second goal of the match.
It was Ebobisse’s fourth brace this season as he leads the Quakes in goals with nine. Ebobisse had a chance to score four goals in the first half, but a header attempt sailed high over the net, and on another occasion, he overran a pass from Espinoza where he was all alone on net. By the time he recovered, Crépeau was able to secure the ball.
Quakes head coach Alex Covelo waited till the 73rd minute to make his first substitutions with Benji Kikanovic and Marcos Lopez replaced Cade Cowell and Tommy Thompson.
LAFC settled down defensively in the final 20 minutes to keep San Jose from earning a point in the match.
Crépeau finished the match with one save on four shots on target to earn the victory. Marcinkowski made six saves on nine shots on target in the losing effort.
GAME NOTES: Each team finished the match with six corner kicks.
LAFC have yet to concede more than two goals in any match this season while posting four shutouts. They are 2-2-1 after starting the season 7-1-1.
UP NEXT: San Jose returns continues its three-match road trip on Saturday 6/11 in Nashville as they take on Nashville SC at 3:00pm at GEODIS Park.