Nov 8, 2012, 1:49 AM EST
Where was this from the Galaxy over the last 10 days? Whoever stole all the hop and the pop from the Galaxy attack must have given it back.
Because the champs threw the whole kit and caboodle at the Earthquakes, shredding the Supporters Shield winner’s defense with three goals before the break.
From there, the Galaxy managed things well enough in the back to prevent yet another furious, signature Earthquakes’ rally.
So Landon Donovan, David Beckham, Robbie Keane and the rest move into the conference finals, while the San Jose Earthquakes become the latest in a long line of Supporters Shield winners to fall short of MLS Cup glory.
It was always possible, of course. But who saw a 3-1 win coming?
The Galaxy advance on a 3-2 aggregate.
Man of the Match:
Robbie Keane has been Major League Soccer’s top striker over the last two months.The Irish international had come agonizingly close to scoring over the weekend when the Galaxy put themselves in a series bind in that 1-0 loss at the Home Depot Center. Well, he finished the job Wednesday, driving forward aggressively and banging one off the inside of the post to light the fuse on the Galaxy scoring onslaught. Midway through the second half, he set up Christian Wilhelmsson beautifully.
Threesome of knowledge: What we learned
San Jose picked a bad time to have a bad night.
This is what the Galaxy did so well last year, ruthlessly exploiting the booboos and the weak links. So it was Wednesday, as the Earthquakes fell for the first time this year at Buck Shaw Stadium.
Steady central midfielder Sam Cronin picked a bad time to have a stinker of a match. Or, at least a stinker of a 30-minute period to open matters, as he and central partner Rafael Baca were no match for David Beckham and Juninho, who had the run of things in the center of the park.
Cronin wasn’t the only one. The league’s 27-goal scorer, Chris Wondolowski missed an absolute sitter from eight yards in the first half with goalkeeper Josh Saunders down on the turf, in a tangle with center back Omar Gonzalez. He put another close-range shot over the bar in the second half.
Donovan still has something to offer. A lot, in fact.
This is the guy talking about retiring? After wilting in a couple outings, the national team’s all-time scoring leader reminded us that there is plenty of soccer left in his 30-year-old legs.
Donovan set up two of those first-half goals, going aggressively forward with the ball and seizing the initiative in ways he wasn’t before.
He responded favorably to a tactical re-positioning. Rather than working alongside Keane as a second forward, Donovan was positioned out wide. Edson Buddle started as the second striker, permitting Donovan’s relocation to the flank, the position where he has spent the bulk of his league and international career.
Donovan seemed to enjoy being wider, with a little more space in which to dash about, better able to see the field and the runners around him. Later, as Buddle left, Donovan moved back alongside Keane and found different ways then to trouble the Earthquake defenders.
San Jose is not the same without Victor Bernardez.
There is a reason the Earthquakes big center back is about to be named MLS Defender of the Year – even if that’s nothing more than a prediction on my part. For now.
So when the commanding Honduran defender left injured, San Jose was in trouble. Replacement Ike Opara just doesn’t have focus and awareness. He fell asleep, for instance, on the second Galaxy goal, caught unaware when Keane crashed across with a strong diagonal run.
We saw the same early in the season when Bernardez missed some time due to injury. Of course, that wasn’t in an elimination series in November.
Packaged for take-away
- Referee Kevin Stott got on top of this one early, which made for a better match, one with just a little less of the silly stuff.
- L.A. rookie center back Tommy Meyer, with wildly varying levels of success this year, may have played his best match to date.
- Meyer’s central partner, Gonzalez, was immense, too. He was an aerial beast, in command of almost every ball that dropped into the Galaxy defensive third.
- Beckham collected a yellow card, so he’ll need to be careful in the conference final opener; if the former England captain is cautioned in the first leg, he’ll miss the back end of the home-and-away series.
- Opara had a wonderful chance to score an 11th goal in stoppage time for the Earthquakes, but blasted his shot high.
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Nov 22, 2014, 10:41 PM EST
Watch Premier League highlights from all of Saturday’s Round 12 games.
Nov 22, 2014, 9:47 PM EST
New York Red Bulls’ Designated Player Tim Cahill is far from doubting his team’s capabilities against the New England Revolution in the Eastern Conference Championship on Sunday.
Nov 22, 2014, 7:56 PM EST
La Liga weekend roundup, as it stands now.
Nov 22, 2014, 7:12 PM EST
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho apologized to supporters for criticizing the stadium atmosphere, while praising his team’s play in a 2-0 blanking of West Brom.
Nov 22, 2014, 6:45 PM EST
Rooney: “We weathered the storm” in 2-1 victory over Arsenal.
Nov 22, 2014, 5:15 PM EST
His squad controlling possession and gathering a fair amount of chances on goal, Arsene Wenger believes his side deserved a better result against Manchester United.
Nov 22, 2014, 5:03 PM EST
One game is a rematch of the 3-3 draw that left Luis Suarez in tears, but both Palace and Liverpool have much bigger things to worry about.
Nov 22, 2014, 5:00 PM EST
All the action from the PL’s seven games on Saturday.
Nov 22, 2014, 4:45 PM EST
Elsewhere, USMNT defenders Timmy Chandler (right) and John Anthony Brooks picked up wins in 90 minutes each for their clubs.
Nov 22, 2014, 4:25 PM EST
Despite an wonderful 1-0 result over QPR to keep their winning run alive, Alan Pardew feels the pain of Ryan Taylor’s sudden injury.
Nov 22, 2014, 3:55 PM EST
Barcelona’s diminutive legend is really good at soccer.
Nov 22, 2014, 3:38 PM EST
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Nov 22, 2014, 3:35 PM EST
Irvine: “We actually went a goal down to a goal which I thought was offside and that makes life very difficult here.”
Nov 22, 2014, 3:32 PM EST
Red Devils surge to victory away at Arsenal, as LVG’s masterplan is taking shape.
Nov 22, 2014, 2:51 PM EST
And there’s still time Saturday to make the record his own, as the game is just at halftime.
Nov 22, 2014, 2:34 PM EST
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A testy affair that could’ve gotten Jack Wilshere a red card instead got him injured, and Arsenal had no finish at the Emirates.
Nov 22, 2014, 1:00 PM EST
Klopp has been at Dortmund since 2008 when he arrived from Mainz, and would likely have his choice of jobs should Dortmund let him walk.
Nov 22, 2014, 12:14 PM EST
Foxes and Black Cats cancel each other out at the King Power.
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