MLS, Week 22
The Los Angeles Galaxy and the Earthquakes played to an exciting 2-2 draw.
CARSON, CA– Another dramatic chapter is in the books for the California Clasico, the Galaxy dominated the match from the start, however, their Northern California rivals the Earthquakes would stun the home team on Friday and manage to hold on for a 2-2 tie.
Regardless, that LA out shoot San Jose 24 to 3, the first team to take the lead were the visitors from the Bay Area. U.S. World Cup veteran Chris Wondolowski received a crisp pass from midfielder Shea Salinas as he started the break away, the Californian native made a run towards the left hand side of the box with the ball. He was being closely followed by a Galaxy defender, when all of sudden Wondo made a quick cut back and blasted the ball to the opposite side of the goal. A low hard shot to the bottom right hand side of the net would give the Earthquakes the 1-0 lead in the 18-minute.
It was a goal that came completely against the run of play, but the Galaxy would not be discouraged as they continued their pressure on the San Jose back line completing 79% of their passes in the final third. LA’s effort would be rewarded with a tying goal ll-minutes after going behind. The current forward in form for Los Angeles, Gyasi Zardes would continue his goal scoring hot steak at the 29-minute, by being at the right place at the right time.
The Galaxy homegrown player would make a run into the box, freeing up the Irish international striker Robbie Keane to take a close range shot. However, the leading goal scorer in Ireland’s history had his shot deflected, and Zardes run into the box would place him in perfect position to get to the loose ball first, and the 22-year-old striker blasted the ball into the back of the net to level the game up at 1-1.
However, a couple of minutes later the Earthquakes would break the deadlock again. This time it would be there new Designated Player, Argentinean native Matías Pérez García would score on his first game in Major League Soccer, with a powerful shot he took right outside the center of the penalty box. The 29-year-old attacking play maker received a quick back flick pass from Wondo, and the Argentinean did not bother to control the ball, as he took a one time shot into the bottom right hand corner of the net. His shot would prove to have too much pace, as Galaxy and Panamanian international goalkeeper Jaime Penedo would get a hand on the shot but the ball still hit the back of the net, to give the Quakes a 2-1 lead at the 31-minute.
The Galaxy supporters at the StubHub Center were stunned that their team had gone behind again in the first half. Even though LA was dominating the run play and had taken double the amount of shots that the Earthquakes had, they still found themselves down 2-1 at the halftime break.
At the start of the second half the Galaxy would not waste anytime to level the match again, four minutes into the new half LA would score the tying goal from a well placed header from U.S. international Omar Gonzalez at the 49-minute. A corner kick for the home team gave the 6’5 World Cup veteran a golden opportunity to score with his head. Followed by a pin point corner from former Swedish international Stefan Ishizaki, Gonzalez only had to make contact with the ball to score. Him placing the ball low to the ground in between Earthquakes veteran goalie Jon Busch and the defender was a bonus. The towering center back gave the Galaxy the 2-2 tie with almost the rest of the half still to play.
For the reminder of the match Busch would be there to stop the Galaxy attack five times, to preserve the upset road draw for the Quakes at the StubHub Center. Leaving LA disappointed and frustrated about the 2-2 final score at home, it was a game they felt that they should of won.
“They obviously weren’t real dangerous going forward, and somehow we managed to concede two goals,” Galaxy Head Coach Bruce Arena told MLSSoccer.com after the 2-2 draw against the Earthquakes on Friday night. “I think that’s the story line. Pretty sloppy defending on a couple of plays, and give San Jose credit, good finishing on their part.”
For both teams their next matches are important for different reasons. For the Galaxy, blowing the opportunity to win at home made the gap between them and first place Real Salt Lake a five point gap. The team from Southern California currently sit in fourth place, but with teams from the lower part of the conference closing the gap by six or fewer points, a couple more defeats could have them in jeopardy of missing the playoffs this season. So their next match against the Crew, at Columbus Crew Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 16, will be a game that LA must win to keep their playoff lives in their own hands.
As for the Quakes, they currently sit in eighth place of the conference and this road point helps their journey of getting closer to the final fifth playoff spot more realistic. However, a victory in their next match which will be back at home against FC Dallas on Saturday, will greatly increases their chances of making the post-season this year.