The LA Galaxy are undefeated so far this season against California opposition, as they won their most recent rivalry clash, a 1-0 victory of Cali Clasico rival San Jose Earthquakes at Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday.
It was a tense, tight battle between the teams, as you would expect, but newcomer Samuel Grandsir made his biggest play to date for the Galaxy in the win, although he won’t get the official credit for the goal in this game.
There were a few changes for the Galaxy, as expected. Nick DePuy started in central defense, Sacha Kljestan got the nod from the start in midfield, and Cameron Dunbar started on the wing.
Jonathan Bond was pressed into action in the 8th minute, as a counterattack from the Earthquakes led to a one-timer shot from Chofís Lopez, but the goalkeeper made the stop.
The Galaxy looked like they were on the board in the 20th minute, as Kevin Cabral bore down on goal and had a beautiful chip to beat San Jose goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski, but Earthquakes defender Tanner Beason was on the spot to block the shot off the line.
Then LA had a double-chance in the 32nd minute. First, a header off Daniel Steres from a corner kick clanged off the crossbar, before Jonathan dos Santos let fly with a long-distance shot off the rebound. But once again a San Jose defender blocked the chance behind Marcinkowski to keep it 0-0.
The teams went into the break scoreless, with the Galaxy the better team but unable to capitalize on their chances.
There was bad news in the early minutes of the 2nd half for LA, as dos Santos pulled up with an injury and immediately exited the game for Adam Saldaña in the 53rd minute, with both Galaxy and Mexico fans nervous about what the captain’s diagnosis will be.
The next subs for LA were about 10 minutes later, with Samuel Grandsir replacing Dunbar and Victor Vazquez making his long-awaited return, in place of Alvarez.
The breakthrough came on a broken play in the 70th minute. Grandsir got on the ball in the box and seemed to body off a Quakes defender in the process. Everyone, including Grandsir, stopped play for a beat, waiting for a whistle that never blew, before Grandsir sent in a cross that bounced off Beason’s outstretched foot and into the goal.
Ethan Zubak entered the game in the 82nd game in place of Cabral.
On balance, I think this was a fairly close game, but the Galaxy had more quality chances and they really should have taken the lead in the first half, but for some successful emergency defending from the Earthquakes. No doubt LA knew this would be a battle, and they’ll be thrilled to be perfect so far in their rivalry games this season.
The Galaxy will have three weeks off now, as part of the MLS break for the international window, and will pick back up again on June 19, when they host the Seattle Sounders. I’m sure they’ll feel good during the break, but they’ll also have their work cut out for them to prepare for the class of the Western Conference, who have already had their number once this season.
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