Busch’s saves, Wondolowski’s goal lift San Jose past L.A. 1-0
Center Line Soccer’s complete coverage includes a photo gallery and post-game interviews with the head coaches and key players from both sides (below).
Santa Clara — The resurgent San Jose Earthquakes thrilled an overflow crowd at Buck Shaw Stadium Saturday, riding a Chris Wondolowski goal and some solid goalkeeping by Jon Busch to a 1-0 win over the L.A. Galaxy.
San Jose’s second straight 1-0 decision at home, both thanks to goals by Wondolowski, gives them back to back wins for the first time since May 8, and lifts them ahead of Toronto in the race for the last playoff spot.
The signings of Khari Stephenson and Designated Player Geovanni have breathed new life into a team that was seeing their season slip away just two weeks ago, and while the latter only saw limited action in his MLS debut, there is no doubt as to the impact these additions have made to the team’s confidence, and offensive attack.
Meanwhile, Jon Busch, who would’ve been watching this game from the bench if Joe Cannon hadn’t fractured his ankle in a midweek practice, came up with seven saves to earn “man of the match” honors from both the LA and San Jose coaches.
The Earthquakes took advantage of a LA defensive lapse three minutes into the game to score the game’s lone goal. Bobby Convey, starting the game at left back, sent in a chip meant for Cornell Glen at the top of the penalty area that bounced untouched into the box. Chris Wondolowski didn’t give up on the play, and when A.J. De La Garza and Donovan Ricketts both seemed to call “yours,” Wondo was able to chase down the loose ball for a tap in from a tight angle near the right post.
From there, it was up to Jon Busch to hang on to the slim lead, and the San Jose goalkeeper was up to the task. Busch’s finest moment came in the 38th minute, when a lazy pass from Stephenson in the Quakes’ defensive end was picked off by Edson Buddle, who released Landon Donovan racing forward. One on one against Jon Busch, Donovan fired a left footer from 15 yards out, only to be turned away by the San Jose net minder.
Donovan was booed every time he touched the ball, but was dangerous throughout an entertaining game, often setting up Mike McGee in a position to score. McGee took five shots in the opening period, but Busch easily handled the two that were on frame.
With both teams looking to press forward, it seemed there’d be plenty of more scoring before the afternoon was over. Four minutes before half time, Wondolowski let fly from 25 yards, forcing Ricketts to dive to his right to push it away.
Four minutes after intermission, a Convey free kick found Wondolowski open near the end line. Wondo slammed a cross that Cornell Glen redirected on goal from close range, forcing a quick reaction save from Ricketts.
L.A. brought in Eddie Lewis for McGee in the 59th minute, pushing Donovan from midfield to forward in an effort to find the equalizer. The U.S. national team captain had a couple of chances; his 74th minute volley from the top of the box was struck with serious purpose, but he was unable to beat Jon Busch.
Donovan almost scored an Olympic goal in the 79th minute, firing a corner kick that Busch did well to punch over the top and keep it out of the net.
Geovanni began the game on the sidelines for San Jose, but had the crowd chanting his name as he warmed up midway through the second half. He entered the game in the 72nd minute, replacing Cornell Glen at forward, and looked exactly like someone who hadn’t played in three months. His one scoring chance, a left footed shot near the end of regulation time, was scuffed a bit, and rolled wide right.
Geovanni has pledged to quickly return to full match fitness, and while coach Frank Yallop wouldn’t say his Designated Player would start next Saturday, there’s little question that his role, and playing minutes, will increase in the coming weeks.
San Jose should have put the game away in the 77th minute, when Arturo Alvarez beat the LA offside trap and got on the end of a delicately lofted pass from Stephenson. In alone on goal, Alvarez blasted his shot well over the top crossbar.
Ryan Johnson replaced Alvarez after that miss, and had a couple chances of his own to score before the day was done. In the 87th minute, Johnson showed a nice bit of skill to chest down a Wondolowski cross, but his left footed effort slid wide right. A minute later Johnson was able to tip a pass around Sean Franklin for a point blank volley that Ricketts snuffed out.
Those misses didn’t cost the Quakes a thing, as Busch kept his clean sheet. One last long range effort from Eddie Lewis sailed wide right in stoppage time, and San Jose celebrated a second straight shutout win.
The Galaxy, still with the league’s best record despite the loss, now return home to face Kansas City next Saturday. For San Jose, next up is a trip to New Jersey to face the star-studded Red Bulls as the race for the playoffs heats up.
San Jose Earthquakes
Frank Yallop • iPhone
Jon Busch • iPhone
Chris Wondolowski • iPhone
Bobby Convey • iPhone
Geovanni • iPhone
Khari Stephenson • iPhone
Los Angeles Galaxy
Bruce Arena • iPhone
Landon Donovan • iPhone
Edson Buddle • iPhone