CARSON, CA (BDCi TV) – – Per many accounts in the media, the first game after Landon Donovan’s retirement announcement Thursday was supposed to be an automatic, lopsided win for a motivated, rejuvenated Los Angeles Galaxy squad.
Apparently, the tied-for-last-place San Jose Earthquakes didn’t read those articles.
In front of 19,719 home crowd fans, the Galaxy actually needed a couple equalizing goals to salvage a 2-2 tie in the SoCal-NoCal rivalry known as the California Classico.
San Jose quieted the crowd early when in the 18th minute, the Galaxy defense allowed national team standout Chris Wondolowski to work one on one on defender Dan Gargan. Wondo made easy work of Gargan and successfully faked out keeper Jaime Penedo to drill a shot to the far post from the left side.
Then in the 29th minute, young Galaxy star forward Gyasi Zardes answered with a one-touch bullet off a defensive carom. It was the young striker’s 9th goal of the season and 7th in the last 8 games.
It didn’t take long for San Jose to assert the spoiler role again, as a Wondolowski back-pass in the box found the sweet spot of new midfielder Matias Perez Garcia’s right foot, which struck the ball so hard that Penedo could only deflect the shot just inside the top post for the second Quakes’ score in the 32nd minute.
After half-time, Los Angeles, who finished the half with 10 shots on goal and a 72.5% time of possession, continued the massive offensive. In the 49th minute, Omar Gonzalez got free on a Stefan Ishizaki corner kick and headed the ball easily past Earthquakes’ keeper Jon Busch.
For the next 45 minutes including stoppage time, the game would continue to be defined by the Galaxy’s putting together several offensive attacks and the Earthquakes closing ranks in the box to deny those Los Angeles attempts. Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena commented on the Galaxy’s offensive dominance reflected in the box score in the post game press conference.
“The only statistic that really matters in this game is the score.”
Landon Donovan didn’t score or assist in this game, but Coach Arena was pleased with his retiring veteran’s effort.
“I thought Landon played well tonight.”
Next for Los Angeles (9-4-7), who are alone in 3rd place with tonight’s tie, is a 2-game road trip to Columbus, OH and Colorado before returning to the comfort of the StubHub Center on Saturday August 23rd against the Vancouver Whitecaps.