SoCal takes down NoCal in Clasico

Galaxy controlled the game from the beginning for 3rd win in a row
by Jamie Pham   |   Monday, September 02, 2013

Galaxy of Angels – column on Los Angeles Galaxy (LA Galaxy) & the LA soccer scene.

CARSON, Calif. – One of MLS’s best rivalries took place Saturday night in front of a sold out crowd at the StubHub Center as the Los Angeles Galaxy faced off against the San Jose Earthquakes in the California Clásico.

The last meeting between these 2 teams was in late July, as the Earthquakes scored 2 heartbreaking goals in stoppage time of the 2nd half to defeat the Galaxy 3-2.

This time, though, it was all Los Angeles from the beginning, as the Galaxy took home a 3-0 win over their California rivals.

Both teams started out pretty slow with LA having the bulk of the possessions. San Jose captain Chris Wondolowski had a pretty good chance in the 10th minute from close range but LA goalkeeper Jaime Penedo came up with the save.

The Galaxy didn’t have trouble getting in the Earthquakes’ final 3rd but could not come up with a shot even with Victor Bernadez out due to red card accumulation. The Quakes tried shutting down LA’s offense by throwing numbers in their defensive 3rd to make sure LA didn’t have any open looks or scoring chances. Robbie Keane had a good chance in the 20th minute when he had a shot go just wide left of the frame.

LA struck 1st blood when Marcelo Sarvas led a counterattack up the middle and Keane freeing Landon Donovan for a 1v1 against Jon Busch with a ball over the top.

Donovan drew Busch off his line and did his signature slide to the right and slotted the ball into the back of the net. It was Donovan’s 132nd goal in MLS and his 100th for the Galaxy.

Keane, meanwhile, now has 12 goals and 10 assists this season and he’s only played 15 games.

“They’re 2 special players [Keane and Donovan] and they seem to have a pretty good understanding, that was one of our main focuses all week in terms of not letting them do what they want to do,” said San Jose manager Mark Watson.

Keane joined in on the fun when Steven Beitashour tripped up Zardes in the box in the 42nd minute for a penalty. Keane calmly converts the penalty for his 11th goal of the season.

San Jose had an uneventful 1st with only 1 shot on goal and 42.8% of the possession. They scored all 3 goals in the 2nd half in the last game so the Galaxy needed to make sure that didn’t happen again.

The Galaxy started the 2nd half with a few mistakes that led to 2 San Jose corner kicks but they couldn’t capitalize.

After that, it was all Galaxy. They had a few good scoring chances but little mistakes like bad first touches kept them from scoring their 3rd goal of the match until the 67th minute. Zardes had the ball on the left flank and found Franklin in front of the right post then headed it to Keane in the middle who volleyed the ball for his 2nd goal of the night.

The Bash Brothers continued their physical play for the Quakes as they went in for a few hard challenges that led to LA Galaxy manager Bruce Arena subbing out DeLaGarza and Zardes. DeLaGarza has played all but 26 minutes this season so this could be something serious or it could just be a precaution the team needs him at centerback when Gonzalez leaves for the US National Team.

“It was just a knock,” Arena said after the game.

Zardes is still trying to adapt to his new role on the left flank as he still had some trouble passing and crossing the ball into the box.

“He’s getting better and better every game,” Arena said after the game.

The Galaxy back 4 looked strong allowing only 2 shots on goal for the Quakes. Alan Gordon, Steven Lenhart and Wondolowski were non-factors in this game. SJ’s 1st shot on goal was Wondolowski’s little volley off a corner kick where he was unmarked in front of the box. LA still needs to tighten their set pieces especially for next week’s game.

The 2nd shot on goal for San Jose occurred in the 79th minute when Sam Cronin had an attempt from outside the penalty box that went wide left of the frame.

LA is now on a 4-game winning in all competitions and goalkeeper has only allowed 2 goals in those 4 games (against RSL).

“I still need to recognize my teammates that played well for an entire 95 minutes. I’m there to just help the team and it shows on the scoreboard,” said Penedo. “We have a good team with quality players. Right now, we’re just thinking of winning and that just helps.”

It will be interesting to see whom Arena will play next Saturday when Penedo, Keane, Donovan and Gonzalez will be away on international duty.

When asked about this situation, Keane said, “Big test for the players now that are going to be here [to face Colorado on Sept. 7] because the international players are going away so it’s good opportunity for the younger lads to stake a claim, keep it going and hopefully get points on the board for us.”

NEXT UP: September 7 – LA Galaxy v Colorado Rapids, StubHub Center, Carson, California. 10:30 EST, TWCSN and MLS Live

Jamie PHAM

Pasadena City College
Club Domestic:
LA Galaxy
Club Foreign:
Former tour manager turned sports blogger, Jamie spends loads of time reviewing the Los Angeles sports scene and is a big MLS and USMNT supporter.