CARSON, CA — The California Claisco has settled upon us once again. These two teams, the San Jose Earthquakes (9-11-7) and the Los Angeles Galaxy (13-9-4), have been building this rivalry since th beginning of their existence. The CaliClasico gives us the rivalry that every California feels daily; NorCal vs. SoCal. The last four times these teams have met in the regular season, results have gone San Jose’s way. Robbie Keane had other ideas coming in to Saturday night’s game. The Irish national netted his 11th and 12th goal of the season to seal the victory for LA in the Galaxy’s 3-0 defeat of San Jose.
In the opening half, it was all Galaxy. San Jose appeared out of sorts and unable to hold any sort of possession through the first 15 minutes, but then they began to have their chances. Chris Wondolowski had a few strikes that had the crowd holding their breath, but nothing was able to break through. The Quakes earned a nice chance with an offensive free-kick, but the Galaxy countered. Keane made a beautiful and perfectly timed pass over the back line to a streaking Landon Donovan, who took a touch around Quakes keeper Jon Busch to send it home and give the Galaxy a 1-0 lead. Towards the end of the half, Steven Beitashour was called for a foul in the box that sent Keane to the penalty spot. Jon Busch got a piece, but was unable to keep the Irishman out of the back of the net, and the Quakes were down 2-0 at the half.
San Jose came out of the locker room for the second half looking reawakened. They held possession better, made crisp passes and had their share of chances, but still were not able to solve the Galaxy back line. Inability to capitalize on any chance hurt the Quakes, and in the 66th minute, Robbie Keane took a ball out of the air and volleyed it home for his second of the night to make the score 3-0. Seconds later, Keane had another chance that went inches wide of the post. The momentum had turned once again and was all Galaxy, and the Quakes were nowhere near able to keep up.
San Jose’s Adam Jahn came in at the 90th minute for Steven Lenhart and instantly rejuvenated the top line, but it was too little way too late. At the final whistle, the Galaxy had run away with a 3-0 defeat of the Quakes and took the second CaliClasico of the year.
The best performance of the night for San Jose came from midfielder Sam Cronin. Always a solid and dependable player, Cronin controlled the midfield and was the main reason San Jose had any chances in the second half. Quakes head coach Mark Watson claimed Cronin was the main driving force behind his lineup tonight, which had Wondolowski, Gordon, and Lenhart up top. With Cronin behind them, he felt the three up top would be dangerous.
With only seven games left, San Jose is still on the outside looking in. Five points back from the last playoff spot with a tough line up coming up, the Quakes will be looking to their dependable home field record to boost their chances. It all starts next Sunday when the Philadelphia Union come in to Buck Shaw stadium at 8pm PST.
EXTRA TIME—Landon Donovan’s goal was his 8th of the season, 100th as a member of the LA Galaxy, and 132nd of his MLS career. Robbie Keane’s goal was his 11th of the season, which makes him 4th in the league for most goals.