Quakes Blanked by Galaxy in U.S. Open Cup Round of 16

By: Eric He

An early goal was all the Los Angeles Galaxy needed to defeat the San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 in Round of 16 in the U.S. Open Cup at Avaya Stadium Wednesday night.

The win came just five days after the Quakes dominated the Galaxy 3-1 in a MLS game at Stanford Stadium.

In the sixth minute, midfielder Kenny Walker lofted a perfect pass to Jose Villareal, who touched it down with his right foot and fired a rocket with his left foot past Quakes’ goalkeeper Bryan Meredith.

“I think we were a bit unaware of the danger that was happening at that present time and it is very surprising that at six minutes we gave up such an easy chance,” said Quakes head coach Dominic Kinnear.

Despite doubling the Galaxy in shots (14-7), the Quakes only had three shots on goal and could not squeeze one by Galaxy goalkeeper Bryan Rowe. Rowe turned aside the Quakes, who pressured all game for the tying goal. He made a tremendous save on a header by JJ Koval off a corner kick in the 51st minute.

Kinnear praised his team for a better effort in the second half: “I thought in the first half all second balls fell to them and they obviously got some chances out of it and got some possession. Where I thought in the second half we were around the ball a heck of a lot more and that’s the reason why we were knocking on the door for as long as we were.”

The Quakes had nine corner kicks to the Galaxy’s zero, in a game played in front of 13,329 at the Quakes’ home stadium.

San Jose will now return to MLS action, as their next game will be on Sunday in Portland against the Timbers.

Quakes surge past Galaxy in California Classico

By: Eric He

PALO ALTO — For the past several years, the annual California Classico between the San Jose Earthquakes and the Los Angeles Galaxy has lived up to its billing as one of the premier MLS games of the year, and this season’s match at Stanford Stadium was no exception.

In a tight contest filled with intense action in front of a sellout crowed of over 50,000 fans, the Earthquakes defeated the Galaxy 3-1 with three unanswered goals, two coming in the second half.

The Quakes came out strong to start the second half and it paid off with a goal in the 53rd minute by Goodson. Off a corner kick by Matias Perez Garcia, Goodson beat his defender to the ball and headed it past Galaxy goaltender Jaime Penedo to give the Quakes a 2-1 lead. It was Perez Garcia’s sixth assist in his last seven games.

They continued pressing, and Cordell Cato, who subbed in for Sanna Nyassi in the 60th minute, delivered a huge insurance goal just 12 minutes later. After some hard work by Shea Salinas to win the ball, Cato eluded Dan Gargan and had plenty of time to fire a hard shot past Penedo from close range.

The win gives the Earthquakes 25 points, tying them with the Portland Timbers for the final playoff spot in the West.

The first half featured highlight-reel goals for both teams – Juninho for the Galaxy and Chris Wondolowski for the Quakes.

It was Juninho who struck first in the 17th minute with a bolt from well beyond the penalty area, a shot that Quakes’ goaltender David Bingham had no chance to stop.

Wondolowski answered in the 28th minute, finishing it off after a terrific feed by Perez Garcia. Perez Garcia deked out Leonardo, creating room for the cross. It was Wondolowski who started the play to begin with, stripping Gargan of the ball and finding Perez Garcia on the right flank.

Otherwise, both goaltenders stood tall in a fast-paced half.

The Quakes nearly scored right off the bat. On the net-mouth scramble in the opening minute, Wondolowski was denied from point-blank by Penedo.

Penedo also made a strong play in the 20th minute, knocking the ball away from Salinas after the Quakes’ midfielder had a clear path from the left side.

Bingham, meanwhile, made crucial stops in consecutive minutes – in the 23rd minute he denied a free kick off the foot of Stefan Ishizaki followed by a point-blank save on Robbie Keane in the 24th minute.

Shots and possession in the first half were relatively even, as the teams went in the locker room with a goal apiece.

Notes

The Earthquakes have lost just once in their last nine MLS games. … They have also lost just once in 11 regular season games against the Galaxy at home. … The Galaxy’s road winless streak is now at 16 games. … On Friday, the Quakes traded defender Ty Harden to the Fire for forward Quincy Amarikwa. … The Quakes are 35-23-17 all-time in the month of June. … The Quakes have allowed one or fewer goals in seven of their last eight matches. … Since 2008, they have played 13 home games away from their home venue and are now 7-4-2 in those matches.

Earthquakes Open Avaya Stadium with Preseason Win Over Galaxy

By: Eric He

SAN JOSE — The game didn’t count in the standings, but in almost every other sense, it did.

The San Jose Earthquakes opened up Avaya Stadium with a bang, beating the Los Angeles Galaxy 3-2 in their final preseason tune-up.

“For a preseason game, it was a big event,” said Earthquakes head coach Dominic Kinnear. “It was almost like opening day. You can just tell the field had something different about it when you walked out onto the field for warmups or the locker room to start the game. It didn’t have a real preseason feel.”

Second half goals by JJ Koval and Adam Jahn were just enough to defeat the defending MLS Cup champions, as the Earthquakes weathered off a late comeback attempt and a hailstorm in the final minutes.

“It was a great day for a lot of reasons,” Kinnear remarked. “Nice to see some goals. The home teams wins, which is good. Stadium is beautiful. The hail at the end was a bit unexpected, but it was a good day for everyone involved.”

Down 3-1, the Galaxy clawed within a goal in the 82nd minute on a tally by Robbie Keane. Taking a ball lofted ahead in the air by Stefan Ishizaki just to the left of the box, Keane left-footed it into the right corner of the net to cut the Earthquakes’ lead to 3-2.

Former Earthquakes striker Alan Gordon had a chance from point-blank to even the game in the 87th minute, but he skied it over the crossbar, and the Earthquakes hung on in three minutes of stoppage time.

A total of four goals were scored in the second half, two by each team.

The Earthquakes doubled their 1-0 in the 58th minute as the second half got under away. Midfielder JJ Koval, the Stanford product and Earthquakes’ ninth overall pick in the 2014 MLS Superdraft, hammered in a left-footed shot past Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Rowe. The ball ricocheted to Koval after a feed by Matias Perez Garcia into the box was knocked down by Chris Wondolowski, right onto the foot of Koval.

“It was a great ball by [Garcia],” said Wondolowski. “He saw my run and put it perfect. I saw [Koval] coming in make a late run at midfield – the amount of ground he covers is amazing – that was a great finish by him.”

He continued: “[Koval’s] engine has always been there. He’s always been able to cover an enormous amount of ground. His composure on the ball; he showed it on the finish. He made that look very easy.”

The two teams then traded goals in the 66th and 68th minutes. The Galaxy got on the board, cutting a 2-0 lead in half after Robbie Rogers, down the left side, found Jose Villareal with a cross, and Villareal headed it past Earthquakes goalkeeper Ryan Bingham.

But San Jose responded. Adam Jahn, who had substituted in for Koval in the 64th minute, headed in a goal off a corner kick by Garcia just four minutes later to give the Earthquakes a 3-1 advantage.

The high-scoring second half made up for a first half where the two teams were perhaps adjusting to the new field.

Kinnear thought so, remaking, “I thought we were a little bit frazzled in the beginning of the game. I thought guys got caught up in the moment a little bit and our positioning was a little bit off.”

There were no goals until the 42nd minute, when the Earthquakes struck first on an own goal by the Galaxy. Maneuvering around defenders in the area, Shea Salinas’ cross deflected off Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez and into the net.

Just a minute later, they nearly tallied a second goal before halftime. It was Salinas again who sent a cross into the box, and a header by Wondolowski sailed just high of the crossbar after Rowe got a finger on it.

Despite being outshot by the Galaxy 5-2 in the first half, the Earthquakes seemed more comfortable and fluid in the latter stages.

In the 22nd minute, the Earthquakes pressured after a few miscues by the Galaxy in their own end, but could not capitalize due to a couple of poor crosses.

The Galaxy had controlled the tempo in the early going, playing in the Earthquakes’ end and generating free kicks and corners. Gordon deflected a pass by Juninho just wide in the 15th minute.

The Earthquakes will take the next week to prepare for the regular season, which begins with a match at FC Dallas on Mar. 7. They will play their first regular season game at Avaya Stadium on Mar. 22nd against the Chicago Fire.

Wondolowski enjoyed christening the new stadium in the preseason finale, but to him, it was just a game that doesn’t count in the standings.

“It’s a great feeling to step out to your home stadium and have a nice lively crowd out there,” he said. “To have passionate fans is amazing. To be honest, I’m really looking forward to the 22nd [of March]. That’s when it really counts.”

Notes

For their “soft” opening, the Earthquakes capped the attendance to 10,000 fans, short of the 18,000 that Avaya Stadium holds. … Jahn finished the preseason with seven goals. … Newly-signed Portuguese defender Paulo Renato suited up on Saturday. Renato spent last season in Segunda Divisáo Série Centro, the third tier of Portuguese football. Renato started in place of the injured Clarence Goodson. … Shaun Francis started on defense in place of Jordan Stewart, who also has an injury. … The Earthquakes finish the preseason 3-1-2, with a record of 1-1-2 against MLS competition.

Quakes outplayed in LA

By Elliot Alagueuzian

CARSON, CA–The San Jose Earthquake’s playoffs took a big hit in Southern California when the LA Galaxy ran away with a 3-0 scoreline at full time in the second edition of the California Clasico this season.

Landon Donovan opened the scoring in the 26th minute when Robbie Keane sent a long ball over the San Jose defense and Donovan went around Jon Busch to score. It was a lightning pace counter attack that San Jose was struggling to deal with.

Robbie Keane scored a penalty that came in the 43rd minute when Gyasi Zardes was tackled by Steven Beitashour however, replays showed there was minimal contact. In the 67th minute Keane made it 3-0 to the Galaxy when Sean Franklin headed the ball back and Keane volleyed a great shot into the back of the net.

With 10 minutes gone in the first half San Jose had the best chance when the ball fell to Wondolowski off a corner kick but he hit the ball straight to Jaime Penedo. About a minute later Steven Lenhart hit a half volley wide of the far post from 22 yards out.

Both teams enjoyed good spells of possession after 15 minutes. Although LA controlled the most of that possesion the Earthquakes created the better chances.

A golden chance to score fell for Robbie Keane when a long ball by Juninho missed all of the San Jose defenders and Keane was through on goal but his shot was well wide of the post and didn’t trouble Jon Busch.

The Quakes will return home to face the Philadelphia Union next week in Santa Clara.