Los Angeles Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes draw, 2-2

August 9, 2014

Carson, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Galaxy as we have know them, are one of the best teams in Major League Soccer. At the Stubhub Center on Friday night in front of 19,719 fans, LA had the chance to prove it by getting back into third place in the Western Conference and boasting one of the better records in the league.

The Galaxy that we know has its heart and soul reflected in the play of Landon Donovan. Donovan is the best player in MLS and American soccer history, and his contribution to the growth of the game is unparalleled.

After scoring the game-winning goal against Bayern Munich this week in the MLS All-Star Game, Donovan announced that this season would be the last of his remarkable career. A career that includes moments such as helping the USA beat Portugal and Mexico to advance to the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup; scoring a last second goal against Algeria to advance the USA in the 2010 World Cup; and producing a game-winning goal and MVP performance in the 2011 MLS Cup to bring the title back to LA.

A championship in 2014 would only add to the mystique of Donovan’s career, and on Friday, the Galaxy hosted San Jose with a chance to improve their playoff positioning. In the opening minutes, LA almost scored when Robbie Rogers beat his defender and crossed the ball into Omar Gonzalez, whose header was saved by San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch, albeit with significant effort.

San Jose responded in the 18th minute when the ball was played through the middle of the field and then kicked out wide to Chris Wondolowski. Gonzalez recovered to Wondolowski, but he took advantage of Gonzalez’s over commitment and scored on Jaime Penedo to the far post to give San Jose a 1-0 lead.

LA picked up its play with more offensive attacking, producing a Rogers shot set up by a great individual move on his defender; a Keane strike in the box; and a Zardes header in the box that was just wide of goal.

However, in the 29th minute, one of the many attributes of Donovan’s game was displayed as he raced up the center of the field with everybody trying to catch him, and then passed off to Robbie Keane for the shot. Keane’s shot was deflected, and Gyasi Zardes, an emerging star in his own right, was in the proper position to score past Bush and even the game.  It was his ninth goal of the season and his eighth in the past nine matches.

"Somebody took a shot and the ball deflected, it came right at my feet and all I had to do was pass the ball in the goal," said Zardes.  "In my head, I knew the ball was going to come. You always have to be prepared as a striker and sure enough the ball just deflected and came right to me."

The game wouldn’t remain tied for long as the Galaxy gave the ball away in the midfield and San Jose quickly got the ball up field. Wondolowski received the ball near the top of the box in the 31st minute and back-heeled a pass to Matias Perez Garcia. Garcia immediately shot the ball with his left foot and scored to the upper corner of goal with a powerful strike to make it 2-1 in favor of the Earthquakes.

"Generally a team has three or four shots and they’re not going to score twice, but that’s the way it went tonight and we did everything we could the ball just didn’t find the net in the end," said Donovan.

The Galaxy that we know came out to start the second half with their familiar championship fight, as they earned a corner-kick. In the 49th minute, Stefan Ishizaki took the corner and delivered a quality ball into the box that Gonzalez headed into goal past Busch and a San Jose defender on the goal line. The goal was Gonzalez’s first of the season and tied the game at 2-2.

LA almost scored a third goal in the 62nd minute when they calmly passed the ball around within 20 yards of goal. Dan Gargan eventually crossed it into Zardes, who shot it a little high. Then in the 64th minute, Keane had a shot on goal that was also above the crossbar following a Busch punch-out.

As the second half continued, LA dominated possession and had the vast majority of the scoring opportunities.  However, no matter what the Galaxy threw at San Jose, they were unable to get the go-ahead goal. In fact, LA controlled 70% of the possession throughout the game.

“It was very frustrating," said Gonzalez.  "We had ton of possession. Gave up silly counter attack goals that were easily avoidable, but we were pushing the numbers forward, and we got caught, and that’s the way it goes. We definitely didn’t panic. We kept on playing our style and tied up the game. Tried to push for the last goal, but it didn’t come.”

The Galaxy will have a couple days off before resuming training on Monday, and then will travel to Columbus for an away game next Saturday.  The Galaxy are now 10-4-6 on the season.

By Brian Kowalski
Staff Reporter for TheDailySportsHerald.com 

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