The San Jose Earthquakes secured a 2-1 victory over the LA Galaxy in the Cali Clasico on Saturday evening. Andy Rios rifled an 82nd-minute penalty beyond the outstretched reach of David Bingham, who denied Chris Wondolowski from the spot earlier in the match.
San Jose have secured back-to-back wins since losing 5-0 on the road against the Colorado Rapids last month, beating LAFC and the Galaxy over the course of five days. Nick Lima earned the lion’s share of the plaudits from full-back and was recognized as Man of the Match for his first-half assist and play that led to San Jose being awarded the winning PK.
The Galaxy took the lead after four minutes, with West Ham United academy graduate Sebastian Lletget directing a rebounded shot into James Marcinkowki’s net. Cristian Pavon was instrumental in constructing that play that gave the traveling side the lead, cutting in from the left to provide Javier Hernandez a clear shot at goal.
The Mexican international’s strike bounced off the base of the post, falling to Lletget, as he charged into the penalty area to offer additional support to the Galaxy offense.
All-time leading MLS goalscorer Wondolowski had a golden opportunity to equalize ten minutes later after Nick DePuy was ruled to have handled the ball in the box. Bingham dived low to his left to stop Wondolowski’s side-footed effort, although the Galaxy’s lead wasn’t to last until half time.
The Quakes equalized in the final minutes of the first period via the left foot of Marcos Lopez. The 20-year-old Peruvian international controlled Lima’s cross on the edge of the box, before firing a driven effort across goal into the top right corner.
After rallying to win at LAFC last weekend, the Quakes have earned consecutive victories, propelling Matias Almeyda’s side to ninth in the Western Conference. The Galaxy, meanwhile, have dropped to the bottom in the West, falling to their fourth defeat in-a-row.
This was the 89th meeting between the Galaxy and the Quakes, with LA leading the regular-season series 32W-25L-16D.
Matias Almeyda: ‘Tonight, we felt joy.’
In his post-match remarks, San Jose head coach Almeyda praised his team’s resolve in the face of “a very difficult opponent." The Argentine said: “Tonight, we felt joy. The players in these last two games have given a whole lot. They are believing more in themselves, and luckily after a long time, we were able to train for one week straight.
“I think today we faced a very difficult opponent, the previous game as well, and we were able to be competitive and get the victory.”
When asked about his role in the team while Lopez is on international duty, Lima told reporters that he will play “where the team needs me.” The American international continued: “It’s kind of been my role for the past couple years, so if it’s the left, it’s the left. I prefer the right, but it’s a time where 18 guys are going to have to step up and that includes myself.”
Lopez, who scored his first goal in MLS during San Jose’s 2-1 win, said: “Overall, we know that all derbies must be won. [Their] goal caught us by surprise, but we knew that by us controlling the game, we had many opportunities.
“That was reflected in a saved penalty on their end, but how we eventually kept fighting to create another chance, which led to the winning goal. We never give up and want to always move forward. Even if we’re down 2-0. I am happy about our recent run. We are overcoming our bad streak. We are fighting hard and this team has a lot to give to this league and to compete.”
SJ: Wednesday, October 7 vs. Vancouver Whitecaps (10:30 pm ET | TSN 1/4/5 in Canada; MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in the US)
LA: Wednesday, October 7 vs. Portland Timbers (10:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in the US; MLS LIVE on DAZN in Canada)