The LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes met for the first California ClÃ¡sico of the new season in front of a sold-out crowd at the Stubhub Center on Saturday evening.
The Galaxy suffered their first defeat of the season last week in Colorado where a late goal gave the Rapids the three points. Meanwhile, San Jose came into Los Angeles undefeated with wins against the Portland Timbers and Colorado Rapids to start the season.
For Saturday nightâ€™s match Galaxy manager, Bruce Arena, used a different lineup for a third consecutive time and watched as another starter limped off of the field with a leg injury. Steven Gerrard made his way to the sideline after suffering a left calf injury in the first three minutes of the game. He was replaced by Baggio Husidic.
â€œHe did a solid job. Itâ€™s never easy at the beginning of games for a reserve to come on that quickly. I thought he adjusted quickly and did a solid job,â€ says Bruce Arena about Husidicâ€™s play.
Gerrard joins a growing list of injured Galaxy players that include Giovani dos Santos and goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.
The match started with the high intensity that is expected of a rivalry game. That intensity translated into fouls as the game progressed leaving the referee with no other option but to book any players that were out of line. Ismael Eflath, the referee, handed out a total of four yellow cards in the first half.
In the final moments of the first half the Earthquakes went down a man after a tough tackle by Simon Dawkins earned him a direct red card. As a result, LA went into the locker room with the upper hand.
â€œIt hurt us playing down a man for a good period of time,â€ said San Jose Manager Dominic Kinnear, who also got his share of warnings from Elfath over his behavior on the sideline.
The Galaxy was quick to take advantage of the short-handed Earthquakes with Zardes getting on the end of a well-composed set piece.
The play started with a free kick taken on the left wing by Mike Magee who tapped the ball to Robbie Keane, who faked a dribble and backheeled it to Magee. Magee then sent a cross into the far side of the box for the towering Van Damme, who headed it into the pocket for an easy goal by Zardes.
Zardes scored again six minutes later as he capitalized on a poor clearance by an Earthquake defender. After a seven month goal hiatus, Zardesâ€™ brace and his phenomenal play earned him a call up to the U.S. menâ€™s national team roster for their upcoming World Cup qualifying matches against Guatemala.
San Jose tried to claw their way back into the match, and finally got on the scoreboard in the 89th minute when Chris Wondolowski made the most off of a defensive error by Van Damme to score his third goal of the season.
However, a minute later Keane was tripped in the box, and the Irish striker put the ball into the back of the net from the penalty spot to restore LAâ€™s two-goal lead.
Three weeks into the MLS season, the Galaxy is on top of the Western Conference table, and leads the league in goal differential. The Galaxy (2-1) will resume play in Vancouver on April 2 when they take on the Whitecaps (1-2).
LA Galaxy 3, San Jose Earthquakes 1
Saturday, March 19, 2016
StubHub Center â€“ Carson, Calif.
LA â€“ Gyasi Zardes (Assisted by Mike Magee, Jelle Van Damme) 57â€™
LA â€“ Gyasi Zardes 62â€™
SJ â€“ Chris Wondolowski (Assisted by Marvell Wynne) 89â€™
LA â€“ Robbie Keane (penalty) 90â€™+1
LA â€“ Mike Magee (caution) 12â€™
LA â€“ Jelle Van Damme (caution) 21â€™
LA â€“ Nigel de Jong (caution) 22â€™
SJ â€“ Andres Imperiale (caution) 41â€™
SJ â€“ Simon Dawkins (ejection) 45â€™
SJ â€“ Fatai Alashe (caution)
SJ â€“ Marvell Wynne (caution) 56â€™
LA â€“ Alan Gordon (caution) 90â€™+3
LA Galaxy:Â Brian Rowe; A.J. DeLaGarza, Daniel Steres, Jelle Van Damme, Robbie Rogers; Mike Magee (Emmanuel Boateng 66â€™), Nigel de Jong, Steven Gerrard (Baggio Husidic 5â€™), Gyasi Zardes; Sebastian Lletget (Alan Gordon 83â€™), Robbie Keane
Substitutions not used:Â Clement Diop, A.J. DeLaGarza, Dave Romney, Rafael Garcia
SHOTS:Â 17;Â SHOTS ON GOAL: 7;
CORNERS:Â 6;Â OFFSIDES:Â 1;Â SAVES:Â 2
San Jose Earthquakes:Â David Bingham; Victor Bernardez, Marvell Wynne, Andres Imperiale, Kip Colvey, Simon Dawkins, Anibal Godoy, Fatai Alashe (Matias Perez Garcia 71â€™), Alberto Quintero (Shea Salinas 67â€™), Quincy Amarikwa (Innocent 77â€™), Chris Wondolowski.
Substitutions not used:Â Matheus Silva, Bryan Meredith, Adam Jahn, Tommy Thompson.
SHOTS:Â 6;Â SHOTS ON GOAL:Â 3;
CORNERS:Â 2;Â OFFSIDES:Â 0;Â SAVES:Â 3
Referee:Â Ismail Elfath
Refereeâ€™s Assistants:Â Kathryn Nesbitt and Corey Rockwell
4thÂ Official:Â Daniel Radford
-Box Score courtesy of lagalaxy.com