Landon Donovan took a break from his ESPN World Cup analytic gig to travel 350 miles north to Stanford for the Earthquakes game. He started behind Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes, but would he have 90 minutes in him?
San Jose’s team news was that Yannick Djalo would start behind Steven Lenhart, but defender Clarence Goodson wasn’t fit to start.
LA came out swinging finding their way down each wing on successive forward moves through Zardes. But San Jose hit back with some good movement between Stephenson and Djalo, and Lenhart finding space in the box off a Sam Cronin corner, but heading wide.
On 10 ,minutes Robbie Keane made his intentions clear with a run at the San Jose defense and a shot on goal that San Jose GK Jon Busch plucked out of the air. When Keane and Donovan did link up their passes, their finishing looked hesitant.
San Jose looked solid enough in defense and were the more creative of the two teams when going forward displaying a variety of attacking options.
On 39 minutes, a lucky ricochet gifted Zardes the ball in front of the SJ goal but SJ defense was up to task with Harden and Hernandez double-teaming to shut the chance down. Four minutes from halftime Lenhart looped a header from the middle of the box that skidded just wide of the goal with Jaime Penedo beaten.
The four across the middle for San Jose sometimes had difficulties dealing with LA’s diamond midfield formation but the truth was that Keane and Donovan looked shadows of their former selves and San Jose still lacked striking options that could finish their movement with goals
Neither team made any changes at halftime and not surprisingly nothing much changed on the field. San Jose showed some good passing on the edge of the LA box before Cato blasted over the bar. Lenhart’s return to full fitness showed in his ability to drive forward but there were few chances on goal for him.
On 58 minutes, Keane had a shot on goal saved easily enough by Busch and showed his frustration with himself. As the game hit the 60th minutes it devolved into scrappiness, the kind of play that anything might pop out of to surprise everyone. Sure enough on 62 minutes, Zardes picked up a ball played back by Marcelo Sarvas in the middle of the San Jose area and slammed home the first goal of the game.
On 72 minutes, the Galaxy came close to doubling their lead with a loose ball in the area that was scrambled away by Busch. The Quakes brought on striker Alan Gordon and Mike Fucito, for defender Barklage and midfielder Djalo.
San Jose’s attack lacked bite and Alan Gordon’s long range shots smacked of desperation while with just 15 minutes to go Fucito’s ball control and passing were not in evidence.
With 6 minutes to go, Juhnino came on for fellow Brazilian Sarvas but little changed. Lenhart managed a good header on frame on 89 minutes but last gasp winners by the San Jose of yesteryear were very much a thing of the past, and LA racked up just their 2nd win away from home in their last 20 away games. Final score LA Galaxy 1, San Jose 0. Clasico, it wasn’t.