STANFORD, Calif. -- Though it didn't produce a winner between the San Jose Earthquakes and the LA Galaxy, the 2016 California Clasico at Stanford Stadium did not disappoint.
A goal from Giovani dos Santos in the 69th minute was equaled by a Chad Barrett effort in the 90th minute, and the match played in front of 50,816 fans, a new record for a standalone Earthquakes game, ended in a tense 1-1 draw.
"They came out and had good chances in the second half," said head coach Dominic Kinnear. "I thought it was a soft goal to give up; the ball was in the air a long time. Saying that, I thought we had good chances. We were good for a goal."
San Jose poured forward in earnest through multiple minutes of stoppage time following Barrett's dramatic equalizer, but LA goalkeeper Brian Rowe made save after save to keep the score level and earn his Galaxy a hard-earned point on the road.
"It was unfortunate we didn't come away with the win," said midfielder Shea Salinas, who assisted on Barrett's score, "but it was a good late goal."
The tie moved the Earthquakes (5-4-7) within one point of the last playoff spot in the Western Conference, while the result gave the Galaxy (5-3-8) sole possession of fifth place.
"We played really well tonight," added Salinas. "We had the better of the chances and probably the better of the possession as well, and I think we should have won this game. We need to start winning."
Head coach Dominic Kinnear put out the same starting eleven that he employed against Orlando City last Saturday in a 2-2 draw in Florida. Victor Bernardez was again installed as captain, in the absence of Chris Wondolowski, and Simon Dawkins paired with Quincy Amarikwa up top.
However, the Earthquakes carefully crafted plans were rendered useless in just the fifth minute, when Bernardez was brought down by a tough challenge and had to exit the field for treatment to a right lower leg injury. In the 9' minute, Chad Barrett replaced Big Vic, moving to forward, with Dawkins dropping back into the midfield and Fatai Alashe taking over at center back. LA Galaxy forward Alan Gordon -- Quakes fans remember his physicality -- would now be the responsibility of Alashe and Marvell Wynne on defense.
LA did little to take advantage of the San Jose changes, and it was instead the Quakes that played on the ascendancy. In the 11th minute, Amarikwa laid the ball off for Matias Perez Garcia near midfield, and the Argentine playmaker sprinted into empty space behind the Galaxy defense. He cut a pass across the Alberto Quintero, but the Panamanian winger's shot attempt was blocked by a sliding defender.
It appeared that the Earthquakes had scored in 20th minute, when Amarikwa rounded a defender and curled a beautiful shot around goalkeeper Brian Rowe. However, referee Kevin Stott had ruled an infraction earlier on the play and had failed to give the Quakes advantage. The ensuing free-kick was harmlessly cleared from danger.
The atmosphere at the match, with an official sell-out crowd of 50,816 -- a new club record for a standalone match -- grew more hostile as the first half progressed. With each successive goal kick by Rowe, large portions of the stadium stomped their feet and loudly screamed "Puto!" on the restart. The derogatory term and clear homophobic slur, often heard at matches featuring teams from Mexico, was yelled at embarrassingly and increasingly higher volumes with each Rowe kick.
- To read more about the pervasive use of insensitive language at the match and the San Jose Earthquakes organization's response, please click here.
In the 40th minute, a turnover by LA near the center line gave the Earthquakes a perfect counterattacking opportunity. Anibal Godoy kept the ball centrally, drawing Galaxy defender Jelle Van Damme inside, and opening space for MPG on the right wing. His strong cross back into the area looked destined to find Barrett, but LA cut the ball away in the nick of time, denying the former Galaxy forward a chance on goal.
Barrett came agonizingly close to breaking through in the 45th minute, when he looped a shot over Rowe that crashed off the crossbar. Barrett could only throw his hands over his face in disappointment, and everyone in a white LA uniform breathed a sigh of relief.
In first half stoppage, Van Damme was adjudged to have brought Amarikwa down just outside the penalty area, earning a yellow card for his efforts. MPG lined up the free kick, but he could not find a Blue and Black target in the box. Stott blew his whistle on the half moments later with the score still knotted at zeros heading into the locker room.
Kinnear and LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena are no strangers staring across the coaches boxes from each other, and certainly each had his own way of giving a rousing halftime team talk. In the opening minutes of the second half, both the Quakes and Galaxy had scoring chances, as both teams looked to take the first lead of the match.
In the 53rd minute, Amarikwa had a good look at goal, one-timing a pass from MPG that was laid off in his path at the edge of the area. The Quakes forward appeared to scuff his shot ever so slightly, and it curled wide of the far post and out for another goal-kick. It was the last serious attempt on goal San Jose would see for some time.
After denying Barrett a goal in the first half, the same woodwork was the friend of the Earthquakes in the second half when Steven Gerrard's follow-up shot after David Bingham had punched clear a cross by Giovani dos Santos caromed off the post and clear of the area in the 56th minute. On the next attack, it was Gerrard again taking the almost identical shot, but this time it was Alashe preventing the ball from reaching its intended target. The Galaxy captain completed his trifecta of shot attempts in the 60th minute from the opposite side of the box, but the Quakes defense was again up to the challenge.
A scary moment came in the 66th minute, as Mike Magee chased for a looping cross into the area that Bingham had a bead on. The Quakes' 'keeper punched the ball away from the LA forward, but he was upended in the process and crashed dangerously to the turf. He didn't stay down long, and the match resumed within a minute.
And then Gerrard broke through, not directly, but by nailing a perfect cross from the right sideline that dos Santos cushioned with a header and redirected to the back post. Bingham was frozen on the play and could not make a reaction save. The 1-0 lead for LA seemed to be inevitable at that point, and the Quakes regrouped ahead of the restart to discuss plans for a comeback.
In the 72nd minute, a corner kick delivery from Shea Salinas, who entered the game for MPG a few minutes earlier, bounced around in the six-yard box before being cleared. Barrett tried desperately to get a boot on the ball, but he couldn't stretch out enough to poke the ball home.
A 74th minute call for a penalty after Amarikwa was tripped up in the area by Rowe was waved off even before it could be considered when the Quakes were flagged for offside on the follow-up of a failed corner kick. San Jose was showing its urgency on the effort, and in the ensuing minutes kept the game in the LA half.
Salinas forced Rowe into a diving save in the 76th minute, and further along in the play headed a cross back across the six-yard box that looked destined to meet Barrett, but it was defended over the crossbar and to temporary safety.
And then, a glorious scoring chance on both sides of the field. First, in the 79th minute, Gerrard stung a long-distance effort that forced Bingham to make an acrobatic catch save. Then, a minute later, Kofi Sarkodie spied Barrett all alone at the far post and floated a cross to the forward, but his uncontested header thundered off the crossbar with Rowe beat.
But redemption came early for Barrett, as in the 90th minute, he was able to head home a free-kick delivery from Salinas. Alberto Quintero had earned the call after the slightest of touches by Jeff Larentowicz 30 yards from goal, and an all-out effort from the Quakes to stack the offside line ensured Barrett would find space to earn the equalizer.
LA would not give up, and twice in the first minute of stoppage time looked certain to regain the lead. First, it was dos Santos slicing a ball through traffic that required a fine save from Bingham. This was followed up moments later with Sebastian Lletget rocketing in shot into the side netting.
The Quakes sent their own salvos forward, and almost found the shot they desired well after the allotted stoppage time was complete. But Rowe did well to catch two different deliveries into the area. And still the game would not end.
A tough foul on Quintero at the center line by Ashley Cole earned the former England international a yellow card, and then after a scuffle, a red card, reducing the Galaxy to ten men. A last ditch effort by Salinas to get the ball in the box was again caught by Rowe, and Stott called the game over at 1-1.
The Earthquakes and Galaxy did not disappoint the record crowd, but both sides will say they deserved more for their efforts.