Big finishers lift Quakes to Galaxy draw
The San Jose Earthquakes held a mere 30 percent of possession and were outshot 24 to 3 Friday night, but managed a 2-2 road draw against Southern California rivals Los Angeles Galaxy.
First-rate finishes by Chris Wondolowski and debutant Matias Perez Garcia were enough to thwart an incessant effort by Los Angeles, who will feel they deserved three points after relentlessly troubling the Earthquakes’ back-line for the entire 90 minutes.
The Galaxy salvaged a draw with come-from-behind goals from Gyasi Zardes and Omar Gonzalez, helping them continue a nine-game unbeaten streak at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.
The Earthquakes allowed Los Angeles the lion’s share of possession throughout the match, hoping to strike via counter attack. The strategy worked wonders in the first half, leading to two impressive goals.
The Quakes opened the scoring in the 19th minute following a blocked shot from Los Angles’ Marcelo Sarvas, when Sam Cronin started a break away playing the ball out wide to a streaking Shea Salinas.
Salinas cut inside and played the ball back out left to an overlapping Wondolowski. The two-time golden boot winner cut inside United States teammate Omar Gonzalez, and scored from what seemed like an impossible angle, on a low hard ball across goal into the side netting.
The glory would be short-lived for the visiting Quakes however, when Gyasi Zardes got on the end of Robbie Keane’s deflected shot in the box, and deftly curled it into Jon Busch’s far post tying the match at 1-1.
The goal continues an absolutely searing run for the 22-year-old who has scored six goals in his last six matches, and seven out of his last eight.
It was another ferocious start to one of the MLS’s best rivalries, and San Jose newcomer Matias Perez Garcia got in on the action.
He did so in the 31st minute on another San Jose counter, scoring on a blistering strike from outside the 18-yard-box. The shot had so much power that Galaxy keeper Jamie Penedo could not parry it away despite getting both hands on the ball.
Wondolowski was once again involved, with his cheeky back heel setting up the Argentinian for his first goal in MLS. Wondolowski is having his best spell of 2014, with two goals and three assists in his last three games.
The breakneck pace picked up right where it left off in the second half, when Gonzalez equalized for LA just five minutes after the break on an unmarked header via corner kick.
Thing would get worse for San Jose in the 70th minute, when a blow to the face forced iron man Victor Bernardez off the pitch to be replaced by Ty Harden.
The Galaxy continued to dominate possession and the chances in the second half, but San Jose managed to block nine shots, and Jon Busch saved five more, to give San Jose their most impressive result of the season.
The draw extends San Jose’s longest unbeaten streak of the season to four games.
Landon Donovan started in his first game since announcing his plans to retire following the 2014 season. Donovan managed more shots than the entire Quakes team – four and three respectively – but his streak with either a goal or assist ended at two games.