Gyasi Zardes bagged a brace in the first edition of the California Clasico as the LA Galaxy outlasted San Jose 2-0 in a chippy contest Saturday night at the StubHub Center.
Brian Rowe earned his 3rd consecutive start while Dan Kennedy continues to recovers from a groin strain, and Mike Magee stepped in once again for the injured Giovani dos Santos.
The Galaxy suffered an early setback in just the 3rd minute when Steven Gerrard pulled up with a left calf injury and had to be replaced by Baggio Husidic.
LA's first opportunity came when Gyasi Zardes sprayed a long teasing cross to Mike Magee at the far post, but the shot from close range was mistimed.
Though the game was intense on the field and in the stands, neither LA or San Jose could create much offense. The Galaxy dominated possession, but outside of a few aimless de Jong blasts from distance had little to show for it.
LA began to warm up towards the end of the half, with Magee squaring for Husidic inside the box but the substitute firing high, then Zardes dragging a neat backheel to Lletget from close range but his shot failed to curve around goalkeeper David Bingham who collected.
Then in typical California Clasico fashion, Simon Dawkins was unceremoniously red carded for a scissors tackle on Sebastian Lletget right before the halftime whistle.
With the Galaxy enjoying the man advantage, LA started brightly. Mike Magee located the ball on top of the penalty kick circle but his attempt to pass into the right corner of the net was saved off the line. Then Magee had another open volley courtesy of a Robbie Keane cross, but the left footed shot was weak and Bingham scrambled across in time.
Eventually however, the dam broke. In the 56th minute, Keane back heeled to Magee on the left flank, and on the ensuing cross Van Damme outjumped everyone to square a header across the box that Zardes managed to toe-poke into the goal.
Zardes would complete his brace six minutes later when a Van Damme long ball was fortuitously cleared by a San Jose defender right into the path of Gyasi, who finished past an out-of-position Bingham.
You could be forgiven for thinking the Quakes were out of the contest, but they continued to battle and Chris Wondolowski took advantage of a Galaxy turnover to slide a easy finish past Rowe late.
And yet, the Galaxy restored the two-goal advantage in stoppage box when Keane was pulled down in the box, and the Galaxy captain made no mistake, stepping up and fooling Bingham with a confident finish into the left corner of the net.
LA next head up north to face the Vancouver Whitecaps.