One game, 100 words or less: Don’t need 100 words for this California Clasico.
LA dominated possession (70% of it), San Jose struck early on the counter, the hosts finally took advantage of their possession, San Jose hung on for dear life, it finished level.
About sums it up.
San Jose – Wondolowski 18′, Garcia 31′
LA Galaxy – Zardes 29′, Gonzalez 49′
Three moments that mattered:
18′ – Wondo strikes on the counter – A shot from Marcelo Sarvas was blocked as the Galaxy dominated possession and shots on goal, and the ball fell kindly to San Jose for a breakaway. Shea Salinas did the hard work through the middle of the pitch, and he found Chris Wondolowski in the 18-yard-box one-on-two. The USMNT striker worked himself space for a shot from a very tight angle, but it didn’t matter. Wondo pinpointed the far corner and struck it on a dime with a low shot.
29′ – Zardes breaks through – With the Galaxy clearly the team on top despite their deficit, the home side pelted the San Jose defense with shots. Robbie Keane thought he’d put a shot on goal, but the blocked attempt fell to Gyasi Zardes right next to him. The in-form striker had plenty of the goal to aim at with Jon Busch wrong-footed on the block, and he struck a curling ball past a lunging Busch and home for the equalizer.
49′ – Gonzalez levels again – After Matias Perez Garcia netted in the first half to put San Jose up again – and again on the counter – LA needed just four minutes to equalize again. A set piece did the trick, as Omar Gonzalez beat Atiba Harris in the corner scrum and headed home the goal. It was a poor showing by Busch as well as Salinas, as the header squeaked between the pair covering the near post.
LA Galaxy – Penedo; Gargan (Hoffman 89′), Gonzalez, DLG, Rogers; Ishizaki (Jamieson 82′), Sarvas (Husidic 80′), Juninho, Donovan; Keane, Zardes.
San Jose – Busch; Francis, Bernardez (Harden 70′), Hernandez, Stewart; Harris, Cronin, Pierazzi, Salinas (Cato 89′), Perez Garcia (Koval 83′); Wondolowski.
Three lessons going forward:
1. The Galaxy are vulnerable on the counter – LA controlled much of this match, but their high-pressing style made them weak at the back, and with a few lucky bounces San Jose took full advantage. This isn’t anything terribly novel, but teams can sit back and frustrate the Galaxy and still bear fruit on the other end.
2. Wondolowski finally has a capable partner – The signing of new Designated Player Matias Perez Garcia may not be enough this year to save the Earthquakes’ season, but over the long term it will heavily benefit Chris Wondolowski to have another dangerous player. Wondo’s brilliant backheel to Perez this game for San Jose’s second goal was a beauty, and the new boy knew exactly where to be on the counter. With more possession, this pair could be dangerous.
3. The Galaxy will be fine once Donovan is gone – Already no longer the focal point of his team’s attack, Donovan is a very important player, but he’s no longer irreplacable. Gyasi Zardes is a very capable front man who is also a creative producer, and the team has a compliment of creative midfielders who will take over the roles. With so much possession tonight, the team was able to dish the ball to just about every option and give each player a chance to show what they’re capable of.
Where this leaves them: A point unfortunately helps neither side.
LA Galaxy – The Galaxy for now go ahead of FC Dallas and into sole possession of the Western Conference’s third spot on 34 points, but with FC Dallas set to play, a point may not be enough to secure the spot long-term. They do stay unbeaten in now nine straight home matches, and four straight overall.
San Jose – If the Earthquakes wish to make a push for the playoffs, they’ll want more than a point. They were dominated, but hitting back on the counter, two goals could have been enough. Instead, they move to 24 points and still wallow back in eighth place.