Following the blueprint they established a week earlier in a 2-2 draw against Orlando City, the San Jose Earthquakes fought back from a one-goal deficit to score late and earn a 1-1 tie with the LA Galaxy in the California Clasico at Stanford University.
Chad Barrett, who atoned for an earlier miss that would have leveled the score, found the back of the net in the 90th minute. sending the capacity crowd of 50,816 supporters into ecstasy. The Quakes had ample time to find a game-winner in stoppage time, especially when LA was reduced to ten men when defender Ashley Cole received a red card, but their efforts were quelled by some smart goalkeeping by the Galaxy's Brian Rowe.
The sell-out crowd represented the highest attendance for a standalone game in the club's history, eclipsing the previous record of 50,422 set at last year's Cali Clasico at Stanford. The Earthquakes all-time largest attendance of 73,123 was recorded back in 1999 as part of a double-header with the FIFA Women's World Cup that featured the U.S. women's national team.
Saturday's dramatic 1-1 draw against the Galaxy, another memorable chapter in the exciting rivalry the two California clubs share, will, unfortunately, also be remembered for a far more ignominious reason -- the use of a derogatory homophobic slur by many in attendance.
The "Puto!" chant, so regularly used by fans of Mexico's national team and heard repeatedly during El Tri's Copa America quarterfinal at Levi's Stadium a week earlier, too often rang out loud and clear, both in the stadium and on the Univision television broadcast, with every goal kick taken by the visiting 'keeper Rowe.
In a statement released by the Earthquakes, the organization promises that "any fan found in violation of this code is subject to expulsion and further punishment." Neither the Quakes nor MLS wants to see the "Puto!" chant take hold in American soccer, and steps to prevent its use will need to be implemented swiftly and comprehensively.
Despite the disruptions created by the disparaging chants, the combination of the action on the field, the huge crowd in the stands, and the massive post-game fireworks show ensured that the event was a success for the Earthquakes. And besides the record-setting attendance of 50,816, what were some of the other facts that followed the Quakes 1-1 result against the Galaxy? Here are Five Facts that stood out from San Jose's dramatic draw with their So-Cal rivals.
1) Following his exit due to a lower right leg injury in the opening minutes of the match, Victor Bernardez saw his streak of minutes played to start the season snapped at 1359. Big Vic had started all 16 MLS regular season games in 2016 -- goalkeeper David Bingham is the only other player to match that accomplishment -- but his status for this Friday's game at Chicago is unknown. Bernardez was dressed and walking around after the game without any apparent incident or discomfort.
2) The 1-1 result kept the California Clasico record between the Quakes and Galaxy even since San Jose returned to MLS ahead of the 2008 season. In 25 regular season matches since that time, each team has 8 wins, 8 losses, and 9 draws. Saturday's 1-1 tie also marked the first time the two teams played at Stanford Stadium and could not decide on a winner. In four previous games against the Galaxy on the Farm, the Earthquakes were 3-1.
3) The super-sub duo of Barrett and Shea Salinas notched points in a game for the second consecutive week, as Salinas delivered the free kick in the 90th minute that Barrett headed home for the equalizing goal. The last time that Salinas had earned assists in two straight games was back in the Supporters' Shield season of 2012, when he accomplished the feat against Chicago and Seattle. Barrett last scored in consecutive games when a member of the Sounders in August 2014.
4) Speaking of that successful 2012 Quakes team, scoring goals late became such a hallmark of the team's identity that they adopted the slogan "Goonies never say die!" Barrett goal against the Galaxy Saturday night marked the eighth time this season that San Jose has scored in the 80th minute or later. If the Earthquakes can learn to prevent conceding goals early in matches, they'll have a great chance to make the MLS Cup playoffs for the first time since 2012.
5) The draw at Stanford, though not the Earthquakes primary stadium, gives San Jose an eight-game unbeaten streak at home to start the 2016 record. A 5-0-2 record at Avaya Stadium moved a tick forward to 5-0-3 taking the Cali Clasico result into account. The Quakes are still without a win away from the Bay Area, earning a 0-4-4 record on the road, but they will have an excellent opportunity to gain a three-point away result when they visit the last-place Chicago Fire this Friday evening.