Skip to content

Drilling down on: San Jose Earthquakes 1, at LA Galaxy 0

Nov 5, 2012, 12:41 AM EDT

San Jose Earthquakes v Los Angeles Galaxy - Western Conference Semifinals Getty Images

The LA Galaxy were left stunned Sunday night after a 94th minute free kick from Victor Bernardez gave San Jose a 1-0 victory, leaving the defending Major League Soccer champions on the edge of elimination ahead of the second leg of their Western Conference semifinal.

An often cagey match in front of 27,000 at Home Depot Center was brought to life late when Robbie Keane nearly put the home team in front, his the 86th minute shot from 22 yards nailing Jon Busch’s crossbar.

Eight minutes later, when Marcelo Sarvas fouled Simon Dawkins 30 yards from LA’s goal, Bernardez put San Jose in front, his free kick skidding beneath a jumping Omar Gonzalez and under a diving Josh Saunders to give the Supporters’ Shield winners their 10th extra time goal of the season.

Man of the Match: Before his goal, Victor Bernardez was close to leaving the game, the Honduran international having injured his right leg late in the match. With San Jose out of substitutions, the defender had little choice but to continue, a decision that almost came back to haunt the Earthquakes when he appeared to aggravate the injury in the 92nd minute.

Two minutes later, Bernardez was the man behind the ball, set for a 15-yard run up on what looked like it would be more of a prayer than a shot. But thanks to a hop from Gonzalez and a slow reaction from Saunders, Bernardez snagged San Jose’s match winner.

Threesome of knowledge: What we learned

Sometimes they feel like first legs.

Friday (Seattle-Real Salt Lake) and Sunday afternoon (Houston-Sporting Kansas City) debunked the notion that the first game of a two-legged series has to be a conservative affair. Unfortunately, tonight’s game gave us more of what we saw between D.C. United and New York – two teams taking a wait-and-see approach over the first half of a 180-minute game.

Over the first 45 minutes, with the teams combined for one shot on goal. Most of the game was played in the middle third between two sides more concerned with avoiding big mistakes than making something happen. The league’s two best attacks were waiting for the other guy to mess up.

When the second half started, it was more of the same, though at the hour mark, LA started pushing for a goal. In the 65th minute, Jon Busch was called on to make his first save of the match, with Keane nearly stealing a lead for the Galaxy in the 86th.

For San Jose, a conservative approach made sense. They were on the road against the defending champions. If somebody offered them a 0-0 before the game, they would have snatched it, said thank you, and spent three hours at the beach before their flight home.

LA’s tactics were a little more confusing, though when you think back on the team’s last week of action, you see why Bruce Arena’s team looked so flat.

LA was either out of gas, conserving energy, or just off.

Arena played a full team last Sunday in their meaningless season finale against Seattle. On Thursday, he team spent near-70 minutes chasing the game against Vancouver, who took a shock third minute lead in the teams’ knockout round match. Even though they were all at home, Los Angeles was playing their third game in eight ways, not an ideal schedule for a team built around David Beckham, Landon Donovan, and Robbie Keane.

So if Los Angeles wanted to slow down Sunday’s game and try to steal it late, you couldn’t blame them. If Keane’s late blast was two or three inches lower, the plan would have worked. Bruce Arena would have been hailed as a magician.

But for whatever reason – fatigue, tactics, or just a flat performance – LA did not look themselves tonight, and when they take the field at Buck Shaw on Wednesday, the Galaxy’s aging core will be playing their fourth game in 11 days.

San Jose did it again, but don’t read too much into it.

The Earthquakes are up to 23 goals after the 75th minute. Chivas USA only scored 24 goals all season. As much as we’ve marveled at it throughout the year, San Jose’s late-match exploits remain an amazing (and probably under-appreciated) part of their success.

Tonight, however, they were outplayed over the last quarter hour. Los Angeles looked far more likely to score, and although you can explain the end result as San Jose’s ability to win against all odds, Bernardez’s goal was less their doing than the result of three Galaxy mistakes (Sarvas’s foul, Gonzalez’s hop, Saunders’ whiff).

San Jose’s results long ago established their end-game bonafides, and with their depth and tactics, you can see why they score so many late goals. Sunday, however, was less about never say die than being the beneficiaries of a gift from their opponents.

Packaged for takeaway:

  • Bruce Arena shuffled his team, starting Marcelo Sarvas, pushing David Beckham out right, and having Landon Donovan partner Robbie Keane up top. Add the return of right back Sean Franklin and four of LA’s 11 starting positions changed from Thursday night.
  • Beckham’s night was quiet or ineffective, depending on how hard you want to be on him. While he put in a few dangerous crosses, most of his service was lacking, and he was often seen walking back to his defensive position. He failed to connect on any of his 11 crosses and was subbed off in the 78th minute, Bruce Arena’s only change of the match.
  • San Jose elected to go with Ramiro Corrales in midfield, with Simon Dawkins starting on the bench. The Tottenham loanee was listed as probable on the injury report and eventually came on for Martín Chavez in the last half hour.
  • Up until his stoppage time gaff, Saunders had quietly put in a strong night, making three or four nice reads to kill attacks before they became dangerous.
Latest Posts
  1. WATCH LIVE: Quarterfinal spots up for grabs in US Open Cup fifth round

    Jun 30, 2015, 3:45 PM EDT

    How to stay in touch with all the Open Cup action in Tuesday’s four games.

  2. Nigel Pearson fired as manager by Leicester City

    Jun 30, 2015, 3:11 PM EDT

    Nigel Pearson, Leicester City FC Nigel Pearson, Leicester City FC

    Foxes decide to fire Pearson despite the greatest of “great escapes” during the 2014-15 season.

  3. Top goalkeepers Hope Solo, Nadine Angerer clash in USA-Germany semifinal

    Jun 30, 2015, 2:20 PM EDT

    OTTAWA, ON - JUNE 26: Hope Sollo of USA smiles during the FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 Quarter Final match between China and United States at Lansdowne Stadium on June 26, 2015 in Ottawa, Canada.  (Photo by Lars Baron - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images) Getty Images

    The two best goalkeepers in the world square off in the Women’s World Cup semifinals.

  4. NBC Sports to air Barclays Asia Trophy as Arsenal, Everton and Stoke head to Singapore

    Jun 30, 2015, 1:29 PM EDT

    PremierLeagueNBC

    Find out how to watch the preseason tournament in Singapore live, here.

  5. How should USWNT line up against Germany in World Cup semifinal?

    Jun 30, 2015, 12:43 PM EDT

    China v United States: Quarter Final - FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 China v United States: Quarter Final - FIFA Women's World Cup 2015

    With a huge World Cup encounter hours away, USWNT head coach Jill Ellis has a lot to ponder.

  6. Petr Cech pens emotional farewell letter to Chelsea fans after Arsenal move

    Jun 30, 2015, 11:50 AM EDT

    FC Bayern Muenchen v Chelsea FC - UEFA Champions League Final Getty Images

    The Chelsea legend has left Stamford Bridge with a heavy heart after 11 years of success.

  7. 2017 UEFA Champions League final to be held at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium

    Jun 30, 2015, 10:43 AM EDT

    Millennium Stadium Millennium Stadium

    Gareth Bale now has the chance to lift the UCL trophy in his hometown.

  8. Foot injury forces DF Hector Moreno to withdraw from Mexico’s 2015 Gold Cup squad

    Jun 29, 2015, 11:25 PM EDT

    Hector Moreno, Mexico — 2014 World Cup Hector Moreno, Mexico — 2014 World Cup

    A huge blow for Mexico as an injury will keep Mexico’s best defender off their Gold Cup squad.

  9. Club president: Ronaldinho has agreed terms with Turkish side Antalyaspor

    Jun 29, 2015, 10:26 PM EDT

    Ronaldinho, Queretaro — Liga MX (Mexico) Ronaldinho, Queretaro — Liga MX (Mexico)

    Ronaldinho is on the move again, and (thankfully) he’s not coming to MLS.

  10. Chile 2-1 Peru: Vargas’ wondergoal puts the hosts through to Copa America final (video)

    Jun 29, 2015, 9:23 PM EDT

    Eduardo Vargas, Chile — 2015 Copa America semifinal Eduardo Vargas, Chile — 2015 Copa America semifinal

    Chile will play for their first Copa America title on Saturday. A chance to make history at home.

  11. Dutch FA terminates Guus Hiddink’s contract amid EURO 2016 qualifying struggles

    Jun 29, 2015, 8:31 PM EDT

    Guus Hiddink, Netherlands Guus Hiddink, Netherlands

    Guus Hiddink is out as Dutch national team manager after less than a year in charge. Who do they turn to now, ahead of EURO 2016?

  12. The final before the final: United States, Germany meet in Women’s World Cup semifinal

    Jun 29, 2015, 7:04 PM EDT

    MONTREAL, QC - JUNE 29:  Alex Morgan of USA talks to the media during a press conference and training session prior to the FIFA Women's World Cup Semi Final match between USA and Germany at Olympic Stadium on June 29, 2015 in Montreal, Canada.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images) Getty Images

    It’s No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the world, but it’s only a semifinal.

  13. FOLLOW LIVE — 2015 Copa America: Hosts Chile vs. Peru in semifinal no. 1

    Jun 29, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT

    Arturo Vidal, Chile Arturo Vidal, Chile

    By the end of tonight, either Chile or Peru will have booked their place in the final.

  14. MLS Player of the Week — Week 17: Portland Timbers’ Darlington Nagbe

    Jun 29, 2015, 5:10 PM EDT

    Darlington Nagbe, Portland Timbers — Photo credit: Craig Mitchelldyer - Portland Timbers Darlington Nagbe, Portland Timbers — Photo credit: Craig Mitchelldyer - Portland Timbers

    A goal and an assist — finally a dominant performance — in the weekend’s biggest rivalry game earns Darlington Nagbe POTW honors.

  15. MLS Team of the Week — Stars of Week 17

    Jun 29, 2015, 4:27 PM EDT

    Fanendo Adi, Portland Timbers Fanendo Adi, Portland Timbers

    “Rivalry Week” is in the books, and a number of derby day conquerors find themselves on the last MLS Team of the Week.

  16. Men in Blazers podcast special: USWNT’s Klingenberg talks defense, Germany, karate

    Jun 29, 2015, 3:21 PM EDT

    meninblazers

    Rog talks with the USWNT’s Meghan Klingenberg about the team’s lockdown defense, her karate training, and living with Jeff Van Gundy’s family.

  17. Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup fifth round preview: Cosmos look to do MLS’ N.Y. double, Charlotte hits Chicago

    Jun 29, 2015, 3:07 PM EDT

    New York Cosmos player Lucky Mkosana (R) greets teammate Spanish Raul Gonzalez (L) during a Cuba vs New York Cosmos friendly soccer match on June 2, 2015 at Pedro Marrero stadium in Havana. AFP PHOTO/YAMIL  LAGE        (Photo credit should read YAMIL LAGE/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Here’s what’s on tap for Tuesday and Wednesday as the USSF tournament stays regional.

Featured video

PST Extra: Sterling & latest transfer gossip