Barrett plays assassin in California Clásico draw

The San Jose Earthquakes (5-4-7) were down a goal to the Los Angeles Galaxy (5-3-8) in the 90th minute.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

In the absence of usual hero Chris Wondolowski, the Quakes found their equalizer in late-game assassin Chad Barrett, who rose to bounce a header between Galaxy goaltender Brian Rowe to knot the match at 1-1.

San Jose also compiled a highlight reel of crunching tackles, a late game brawl and a red card in a game that had all the makings of a California Clásico.

Barrett said:

“It was one of those things where we left it a little too late, but for me it was more personally gratifying because I had a terrible miss probably 15 minutes before.”

The goal was a redeeming effort for Barrett, who had been the source of missed opportunities for most of the game. His missed header — just 10 minutes prior — nearly sealed the Quakes’ fate.

The man whose cross created the chance, Shea Salinas said:

“Chad had been getting on the end of crosses all night. He was due for the goal.”

San Jose dominated the attack in a scoreless first half of action. The men in blue managed 12 shots to Los Angeles Galaxy’s one. Those shots were plagued by inefficiency however, as four of 12 were blocked by the defense and seven missed the mark entirely. They finished the game with only six shots on target from 22.

One first-half shot found the target and also the back of the net off the foot of San Jose forward Quincy Amarikwa. As player and crowd celebrated however, a late offsides call retracted the opening tally from the scoreboard.

Asked if he thought the goal should have counted, Barrett said:

“The crowd was so loud, Quincy couldn’t hear him. The play was dead like five seconds before and I knew it but he didn’t. It was a great play by him. There’s not too many guys stronger than Quincy in this league.”

The only substantial scoring chance afterward came moments into first-half stoppage time. Recently substituted Barrett, who came on for powerful center back Victor Bernardez following a reported lower right leg injury, moved slowly into the box. Despite hinting at a layoff pass, Barrett pulled the trigger on a surprise chip shot that caromed softly off the top crossbar.

The loss of Bernardez is significant, as the Quakes went into Saturday meeting with zero healthy defenders on the bench and a converted fullback in Marvell Wynne already filling in at center back.

If Bernardez were to miss a substantial amount of time, he’d join fellow injured defenders Clarence Goodson, Andres Imperiale, Matheus Silva and Jordan Stewart. Midfielder Fatai Alashe, who filled in today, likely would be the next player to slot into the back four.

Coach Dom Kinnear said:

“You just gotta deal with it. It’s one of those where you look down the bench and we don’t really have a center back, so Fatai is the next guy in line.”

Los Angeles woke up in the second half after their offense failed to create anything noteworthy in the first 45. They quadrupled their number of chances on goal in the first 10 minutes, and while the Quakes were producing some attacks, the San Jose clean sheet no longer seemed a foregone conclusion.

In the 71st minute, Los Angeles’ work paid off with the game’s opening tally. Two of the highest paid players in MLS connected to justify the salary when former England great Steven Gerrard put in a calculated cross that found Mexican international forward Giovani Dos Santos free for a header across goal.

The Galaxy got their goal in the 71st minute, while the Earthquakes were always going to push forward and look for the equalizer at home. That’s just what they did — and then some.

The ensuing half hour of play was a barrage of San Jose chances on goal. Designated player Simon Dawkins had multiple chances to equalize, as did Amarikwa. Barrett, the late game goal specialist, had multiple clear cut chances including a free header on an open goal where he struck the crossbar for the second time in the game.

The only moment free of San Jose attacking was a ball rolling across the top of the box that Gerrard nearly curled in a world class finish.

Cometh the 90th minute, and cometh the man. Barrett finished and the game would finish tied at 1-1.

Kinnear said:

“He said ‘I wanted one more chance.’ and lucky for us, it came to him and he took it well.”

Barrett said:

“If [stoppage time] was another five minutes, I think we would’ve had them.”

But not before frustrations broke out into a midfield brawl. Ashley Cole ended up one of several players to receive a yellow, and after protesting found himself ejected with a red card. It was a wild end to a gritty game.

Salinas said:

“This atmosphere is just conducive to an intense matchup. Their fans are cheering negative things about us and are fans are cheering negative things about them. That translates on the field.”

San Jose remains one point below Los Angeles in the standings, and more importantly are now without a win in the last five games. The next game is July 1 at Toyota Park to take on the last place Chicago Fire (2-7-5).