SAN JOSE, Calif. — The first Cali Clasico of 2017 was nothing if not entertaining, as the LA Galaxy stormed into sold-out Avaya Stadium and delivered the San Jose Earthquakes their first home loss of the season, 4-2.
A brace from Giovani dos Santos paced LA (5-5-2) on the night, with a Victor Bernardez own goal proving to be the difference maker. Danny Hoesen scored his first MLS goal for the Quakes (5-5-4) while Chris Wondolowski netted his sixth of the season in defeat.
It only took 10 minutes for the first goal to go in, as Wondolowski staked the hosts to a 1-0 lead with a sublime volley at the far post. Hoesen expertly picked out Wondo with a direct cross over Ashley Cole that the Quakes talisman drilled past Brian Rowe. It was Wondolowski’s sixth goal of the season, eighth all-time against the Galaxy.
LA responded following a Quakes defensive mistake in the 19th minute, as Cole enticed Florian Jungwirth out of the penalty box, only to slide the ball past the German right into the path of Joao Pedro. His first MLS goal was a result, as the Portugal midfielder shot low past David Bingham for the equalizer.
The Galaxy would double its lead in the 35th minute after dos Santos calmly directed a penalty kick to the center of the net following a take-down of Bradley Diallo by Kofi Sarkodie just inside the area.
The Earthquakes immediately countered with a wonder goal through Danny Hoesen in the 37th minute. The play began with Tommy Thompson carrying the ball past Diallo to the endline and drilling a cross into the goal box. With his back to goal, Hoesen redirected the ball with the outside of his root boot past Rowe to take the score to 2-2. It was the Dutchman’s first MLS goal.
Then, in a half that had just about everything, the Quakes gifted their rivals a go ahead goal just before intermission, when Diallo’s cross from a tight angle caromed off Victor Bernardez and past Bingham at the near post. It was a fitting way to end a frenetic first 45 minutes.
LA and San Jose started the second half with a greater sense of control, but, in classic California Clasico fashion, chances did open up at both ends of the field. The Quakes slowly but surely asserted themselves more in the attacking half, but a lapse in possession cost them dearly.
With the field stretched, but LA holding its lines with aplomb, Cole dispossessed Cordell Cato deep in the right corner and started a textbook counterattack. Romain Alessandrini who had been fairly well contained by that point, kept the ball alive on the sideline then burst into the Quakes half. He spied attacking partner dos Santos sprinting to the far post before delivering a pinpoint cross that the Mexican headed home to extend the lead to 4-2 in the 64th minute. It was a brutal reminder to San Jose of how dangerous LA can be on the counter.
The Quakes played with more urgency in the aftermath, but the Galaxy packed it in defensively and allowed the home side little entry into the goal area. Simon Dawkins entered for Bernardez, but it was a case of too little, too late for the Quakes.
San Jose has a short week to lick its wounds, as the Quakes travel to Portland to face the Timbers Friday night.