Even though it was only a preseason friendly, both the San Jose Earthquakes and LA Galaxy came to play Saturday afternoon. And after the dust had settled, the visiting Quakes emerged 4-2 winners over their Southern California rivals in the match played in Irvine.
Tommy Thompson scored twice for San Jose, playing only the second half, while Chris Wondolowski and Fatai Alashe added one each in the victory. Ole Kamara, acquired from the Columbus Crew in an off-season trade, scored both goals for LA.
“It was a great game for us,” said Thompson. “It really was back and forth all game long, but I am happy we came out with a result.”
The Earthquakes featured a top-choice Starting XI, with the back four the same as it has been all preseason, and the midfield featuring the inclusion of Jackson Yueill for Anibal Godoy, as head coach Mikael Stahre continued his preparations for the season opener in two weeks. Florian Jungwirth, who played all of last year as a center back, continued to shine as central midfielder this preseason, while Danny Hoesen, back for a second season in San Jose, was impressive all afternoon.
“I am happy to score four away goals,” said Stahre. “The performance, especially in the second half, was good. In general I think we conceded too many chances. It was an equal game, we were a little bit more effective, obviously, but we conceded too many chances. I am happy with this performance, but we need to be better in defense.”
The first half started with both team’s needing their goalkeepers to make big saves to keep the game scoreless. David Bingham, now the Galaxy starter after featuring for San Jose for two-plus seasons, twice was called into action to stop Hoesen from opening the scoring in the 13th minute. Andrew Tarbell did the same for the Quakes with his strong deflection of Romain Alessandrini’s 31st minute goal-bound effort.
The Earthquakes kept LA’s defense under pressure for much of the first 30 minutes, though their defense was a bit too static at times. The disconnect between the two lines was finally exploited by the Galaxy in the 36th minute when Emmanual Boateng threaded a perfect pass to Kamara that left the Quakes center back duo of Yeferson Quintana and Harold Cummings flat footed. The former Columbus striker beat Tarbell to the near post to make it 1-0 LA.
The same pressure from the Quakes up the field paid dividends two minutes later as Jahmir Hyka intercepted a deep pass from Giovani dos Santos and directed the ball to Wondolowski at the top of the box. The Quakes captain one-touched a shot low and to the left of Bingham that trickled under the ‘keeper and into the net to make it 1-1.
San Jose withstood some strong attacking moves by LA over the last 10 minutes of the half as Tarbell made a pair of spectacular saves to keep the game tied. In the first 45 minutes, in part because of the loose defending by the Quakes, Tarbell recorded an impressive five saves total.
The second half saw San Jose make two changes, as Alashe and Thompson entered the game for Yueill and Hyka. Stahre’s substitutions paid off immediately, as both players scored within 10 minutes of the restart to put the Quakes up 3-1.
The first goal came from Thompson in the 54th minute, as he was able to head home from close range after Wondolowski had his shot deflected by Bingham. The Quakes midfielder didn’t give up on the play, trailing Wondolowski all the way, to give San Jose its first lead of the afternoon.
Thompson was there to initiate the next goal, as his possession in midfield freed Hoesen on the left wing. The Dutch striker cut back into the box onto his favored right foot and unleashed a low shot that Bingham saved with a kick. Unfortunately for the former Quakes ‘keeper, his former teammate Alashe was lurking in the box, and the clearance ricocheted off his upper chest and back into the goal. The San Jose midfielder was standing in the right place at the right time.
With a quarter hour left in the match, and with the Earthquakes taking their foot off the pedal, the Galaxy clawed one back through Kamara. The forward bagged his brace as veteran Ashley Cole created enough space on the left wing to cross a perfect pass. Quintana appeared to ease up on the play, making it a bit easier for Kamara, something the young Uruguayan will need to fix before the season opener.
The Earthquakes substitution brigade, bolstered with the addition of Chris Wehan and Quincy Amarikwa, restored the team’s two goal lead in the 90th minute. Amarikwa, after drawing three LA defenders to him, flicked a ball to Wehan as the midfielder found space to run into the box. The former Reno man and 2017 USL Rookie of the Year cut back his cross for Thompson to expertly touch and deliver San Jose’s fourth goal of the game. On the day, despite playing only 45 minutes, Thompson was the best player on the field for the Earthquakes.
The match ended with San Jose winning 4-2 over the Galaxy, handing their Southern California rivals their first loss of the preseason. Meanwhile, the Earthquakes continued their unbeaten start to 2018 with the victory. They return home to face Reno 1868 FC this Thursday for a closed-door friendly.
MLS Preseason Match Summary
LA Galaxy 2 — San Jose Earthquakes 4
Feb. 17, 2018 — Orange County Great Park in Irvine, Calif.
Scoring Summary: LA - Ola Kamara (Emmanuel Boateng) 36; SJ - Chris Wondolowski (Jahmir Hyka) 38; SJ - Tommy Thompson (unassisted) 54; SJ - Fatai Alashe (unassisted) 55; LA - Ola Kamara (Ashley Cole) 74; SJ - Tommy Thompson (Chris Wehan) 90.
Misconduct Summary: SJ - Florian Jungwirth (caution) 10; LA - Servando Carrasco (caution) 77; LA - Justin Buscher (caution) 88.
San Jose Earthquakes line-up: Andrew Tarbell; Shea Salinas (Joel Qwiberg 85), Harold Cummings, Yeferson Quintana, Nick Lima; Vako (Chris Wehan 78), Florian Jungwirth (Luis Felipe 78), Jackson Yueill (Fatai Alashe 46), Jahmir Hyka (Tommy Thompson 46); Chris Wondolowski (Jimmy Ockford 85), Danny Hoesen (Quincy Amarikwa 72).
LA Galaxy line-up: David Bingham; Rolf Feltscher (Cordell Cato 62), Daniel Steres, Jorgen Skjelvik, Ashley Cole; Perry Kitchen (Servando Carrasco 76), Jonathan dos Santos (Julian Buscher 62), Romain Alessandrini, Giovani dos Santos (João Pedro 84), Emmanuel Boateng (Ariel Lassiter 76); Ola Kamara.