The Galaxy were unable to hold a 3-1 lead and lost to the San Jose Earthquakes 4-3 after Chris Wondolowski capped the scoring on a wild night in Northern California.
Wondolowski scored the game winner in the 61st minute after a Marvin Chavez corner was flicked on by Ramiro Corrales. Wondolowski got just a heel to the ball, but that was enough to redirect it past Josh Saunders and give the western conference leaders a win over their hated rivals from the south.
The Galaxy went down in the game early when Marvin Chavez cut in from the right flank and fired a shot which Saunders was able to parry away. However, the rebound went right to the feet of Steven Lenhart who was unmarked inside the six-yard box. He calmly put the ball into the net and gave the Earthquakes a lead in the 7th minute.
The Galaxy responded with three goals in a ten minute span, starting with a David Beckham free kick goal. The Galaxy had a free kick about 19 yards away which Beckham was able to bend over the wall and under the bar leaving San Jose keeper Jon Busch putting his hands in the air as if to say, “there’s nothing I could do about that.”
The Galaxy continued their onrush forward when a nice combination found Hector Jimenez in behind the San Jose defense. He unselfishly tried to play the ball back across the goal after drawing the keeper, aiming for Landon Donovan, but Jason Hernandez got to the ball first, fortunately for the Galaxy he knocked it into his own net, giving LA the 2-1 lead.
Things got even better for the Galaxy after a long ball from David Beckham was not cleared. Jason Hernandez was again on the ball in his own box, and tried to play it back to his keeper, but Mike Magee was stationed in the way. Magee intercepted, played the ball to Jimenez who played it to Donovan, who put it in a fairly empty net.
This is the point in the game where the Galaxy were in control. It was the 41st minute and the team had scored three goals in quick succession, they needed to get to halftime without allowing San Jose an opportunity to get back in the game, but their defense could not hold. A corner kick goal by defender Victor Bernandez gave the Earthquakes some life heading into the second half. Marvin Chavez had another good corner and Bernandez got just enough separation from Todd Dunivant. He then laced the ball to the back post leaving Josh Saunders almost no chance. It was a well-taken goal, but the Galaxy needed to be tighter in their marking.
Just after halftime, the Earthquakes got another goal as Steven Beitashour played a ball forward, Steven Lenhart let the ball go, and three Earthquakes were basically going at A.J. De La Garza. Sam Cronin got on the end of the ball and slipped it past Josh Saunders. Cronin’s run started at midfield, he saw open space in the Galaxy defense, raced past Juninho who did a terrible job of marking his man coming from a long ways away. That was the goal that tied the game and gave the Earthquakes all the confidence in the world.
The Galaxy gave away two goals on corner kicks, and two goals by letting men run unmarked into their box. The team had sloppy defending all night, and Wondolowki could have scored another, which he skied. The team is still without a reliable central defender to pair with A.J. De La Garza since Omar Gonzalez’s injury. David Junior Lopes started again, and has looked good at times, but then makes plays which leave the Galaxy coaches shaking their heads.
The Galaxy did not deserve a win in this game. Giving up four goals on the road is not a recipe for success, but the Galaxy still had a chance to come out of the game with three points. They were more incisive at times on offense, finding a killer ball. They also had two shouts for penalty kicks that were not given. Todd Dunivant fired a shot in the 54th minute that Victor Bernandez looked to have handled when played in slow-motion. Sean Franklin also fired a shot that may have hit Sam Cronin’s hand in the 84th minute. The team continued play after that and almost comically could not put the ball in the net as Chad Barrett was practically on the goal line but could not get a touch.
This was not a consistent performance for the Galaxy as they had times of looking sharp, but too often were found lacking defensively. They cannot expect to win games against a team of San Jose’s quality playing like this. The Galaxy were often exposed in the midfield as Rafael Baca, Marvin Chavez, Sam Cronin, and Ramiro Corrales won the majority of the second balls and often outhustled the Galaxy midfield, dominating the game early in the second half. The Galaxy were lucky not to concede another, which would have left them almost no shot at rescuing a result.
The California Classico has always been a heated rivalry and this time was no exception as six yellows were handed out. David Beckham got a yellow in the 93rd minute when he kicked the ball at Sam Cronin from 30 yards away while Cronin was laying on the ground and the game was stopped. This means that Beckham will be suspended for the Galaxy’s next match against Philadelphia.
Beckham also learned this week that he will not be a member of Great Britain’s Olympic team, after he was one of the biggest campaigners for the Olympic Games to come to London, obviously a disappointment for Beckham who was hoping to play for his country on his home soil. However, this is fortunate news for the Galaxy, as they need to have as close to a full lineup as possible if they are to make any noise in the western conference. Something that became even more important with tonight’s come from ahead loss.
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Next: 7:30 PM, Wed July 4th vs. Philadelphia Union