Los Angeles Galaxy Break Stanford Curse Against San Jose Earthquakes


Jun 28, 2014; Palo Alto, CA, USA; Los Angeles Galaxy forward Gyasi Zardes (11, right) high-fives head coach Bruce Arena (center) after a substitution against the San Jose Earthquakes during the second half at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Well, glad that’s over for Bruce Arena’s Los Angeles Galaxy. The only drawback from their breakthrough, curse-busting 1-0 win over Mark Watson’s San Jose Earthquakes at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, Calif. is that the win made Colin Clarke’s Carolina RailHawks look like James Rodriguez-caliber world beaters. And this wasn’t the wide-open-like-Miami goal festival from last year. It was one of those 1-0 bread-and-butter snoozefests that added to the mystique of this legendary rivalry in Major League Soccer.

Still, a historic win is a historic win, and now the Galaxy have a reason to believe that their season may yet be saved. Molon labe, Portland. Here are six things we learned, followed by player ratings, for Saturday’s tilt between the San Jose Earthquakes and the Los Angeles Galaxy.

1. Galaxy press early in first half

One of the reasons why the Galaxy would stand tall against San Jose is that Leonardo was on the bench. Tommy Meyer and Kofi Opare plugged the back in lieu of Omar Gonzalez, who was still on National Team duty. Early on in the first half, Steven Lenhart, who was one of a few players called to deliver for the Quakes in the Bold Predictions, had a shot from the left side blocked in the fourth minute. Lenny had another opportunity headed wide right off a Sam Cronin corner.

Stefan Ishizaki tried to find Landon Donovan in the ninth minute but the pass was intercepted. In the 10th minute, an uncreative shot from Robbie Keane was easily collected by Jon Busch. Donovan had a right-footed volley from the center of the box blocked in the 11th minute. In the 14th minute, shots from Keane and Robbie Rogers were saved and blocked, respectively.

2. More close calls in first half

In the 20th minute, young gun Yannick Djalo had a right-footed shot from outside of the box blocked. Gyasi Zardes, who did work in the Galaxy’s victory over Arizona United days ago, had a header miss to the right. Lenhart’s next chance in the 27th minute was headed wide left. Khari Stephenson was hoping to get on goal in the 29th minute, but his shot missed to the right.

3. Zardes, Lenhart, others come up dry

In the 32nd minute, Zardes had a shot from the center of the box blocked. Marcelo Sarvas was the next to try his luck on goal for the Los Angeles Galaxy in the 34th minute but it was skied. A speculative call came in the 36th minute: what looked to be a handball by Brandon Barklage ended up as a handball by Rogers and a free kick awarded to the Earthquakes.

Still, the bad finishing continued. Zardes had another shot in the 38th minute blocked by Stephenson. The night of finishing horrors continued for Lenhart, as he missed on a header in the 42nd minute of play. And Ty Harden had a chance from the six-yard box blocked in the 44th minute.

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4. Gyasi Zardes strikes after hour mark

Early on in the second half, Sarvas was whistled for a hand ball in the 47th minute. Cordell Cato (first time I mentioned his name) fancied a chance on goal but it missed high and out in the 48th minute of play. Stephenson was hoping to cash in at the 57th minute but his header also missed, this time to the left. Keane also struggled, with a shot easily saved by Busch in the 58th minute of play. Sarvas had a volley from long range blocked in the 59th minute and Donovan had a shot from outside of the box blocked at the hour mark. Finally, in the 61st minute, the deadlock was broken. Keane and Sarvas found Zardes, who slammed one past Busch for the only goal of the game. Enjoy it, Galaxy fans. Roll…the tape!

5. San Jose forced to chase yet another deficit

And now the San Jose Earthquakes were forced to chase another deficit. Dan Gargan was cautioned in the 67th minute for a foul on Khari Stephenson. Donovan’s next chance in the 69th minute went high and wide right. Cato was whistled for a hand ball in the 71st minute, the same minute where Ishizaki was denied by Lenhart. Ishizaki had a screamer that would have been a definite Goal of the Week, only to hit the post. Oh Stefan. Opare fancied a look on goal in the 72nd, only to be blocked.

6. Gordon, Fucito confounded by Penedo, Galaxy conundrum

Mark Watson sent in a couple of key substitutions in the 73rd minute. Forward Alan Gordon came in for Djalo, while Michael Fucito filled in for Barklage. The Galaxy would now shift their game plan to denying Gordon the equalizer, and in the 77th minute, Gordon’s first chance from outside of the box was blocked.

Rob Friend came in for Gyasi Zardes in the 81st minute, but he would have it rough in the closing stages of the game. Juninho came in for Sarvas in the 85th minute to bring in fresh legs. Lenhart’s next header in the 88th minute was saved by Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo, who would go on to put another shutout to his record. One of the few consolation victories for the San Jose faithful was that Donovan was given a booking in the 90th minute for time-wasting.

A peculiar move from Watson came in during the second minute of stoppage time, when J.J. Koval was subbed in for Cronin. Keane’s last chance on goal from a difficult angle was blocked in the same minute. Jason Hernandez had a header from the center of the box miss to the left. Gordon actually had a chance to revive the Goonie magic that has characteristic of his goalscoring ability in the fourth minute of stoppage time but his header from the center of the box was high and missed wide right, a microcosm of a sorry performance from a team that could see its manager and perhaps brains trust on the move.

Team Statistics

San Jose Earthquakes in light blue, Los Angeles Galaxy in yellow

1Shots on Target5
8Shots off Target4
4Blocked Shots8
0Yellow Cards2
0Red Cards0
405Total Passes387
78 %Passing Accuracy77 %
51.6 %Possession48.4 %
53Duels Won55
17Tackles Won16

San Jose Earthquakes Player Ratings

Jon Busch 5, Brandon Barklage 4, Jason Hernandez 2, Jordan Stewart 2, Ty Harden 3, Cordell Cato 5, Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi 4, Khari Stephenson 5, Sam Cronin 5, Yannick Djalo 4, Steven Lenhart 6, Alan Gordon 3, Michael Fucito 3, J.J. Koval NR

Los Angeles Galaxy Player Ratings

Jaime Penedo 6, Dan Gargan 5.5, Kofi Opare 7, Robbie Rogers 6, Tommy Meyer 7, Baggio Husidic 5, Landon Donovan 6.5, Marcelo Sarvas 8, Stefan Ishizaki 7, Gyasi Zardes 9, Robbie Keane 8, Rob Friend 2, Juninho NR