Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
When the San Jose Earthquakes were reduced to ten men in the 77th minute, it seemed unlikely that they would come back from the one-goal deficit they were facing.
But that’s exactly what they did.
Scoring twice in 90th minute stoppage-time, the Earthquakes defeated the Los Angeles Galaxy, 3-2, to win the Cali Clasico in front of more than 50,000 fans on Saturday night at Stanford Stadium.
Alan Gordan, coming on as a second-half substitute for a bloodied Steven Lenhart, played the hero as he lead the Earthquakes on the comeback trail, scoring the first goal in the 68th minute and finally the game-winner in the 93rd minute of the match.
Though the match finished in the hosts favor, nearly everything up to that point went the way of the visitors. The Galaxy dominated the match from the back to the front, winning challenges in the air and playing possession soccer in attack.
The opening goal of the match came just 20 minutes in on a beautiful combination play by the Galaxy, as Landon Donovan linked up with Robbie Keane, perfectly placed a pass towards teammate Marcelo Sarvas, who finished past Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch.
Donovan and Keane were at it again in the second half when they combined together for another outstanding team goal, this time finding the substitute Hector Jimenez in the 60th minute to take a two-goal lead.
Gordon helped give the capacity crowd at Stanford Stadium some hope when he latched on to a in-swinging Shea Salinas cross in the 68th minute to cut the deficit in one. The hopes seem to dry up in a moment of emotion in the 77th minute, as Victor Bernardez was shown a controversial second yellow card and subsequent red card for a studs up sliding tackle. Video evidence after the play seemed to show a lack of contact with Bernardez and the victim, Juninho of the Galaxy.
After the sending off, the Galaxy had multiple clear cut chances on goal that they wasted, thanks in part to some big stops by Busch, which all lead to Salinas’ equalizer in the 91st minute. A long throw-in was redirected off Galaxy goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini right in front of net, and Salinas arrived on the door step to tap home to an elated crowd.
Eighty-four seconds later, the Earthquakes found their winner. Seeing the Galaxy fall asleep at defense, the hosts surged forward, with Salinas finding Sam Cronin in the right of the box, who sent a perfect curling chip to the far post where Gordon arrived to head home to the delight of a delirious audience.
Here are the match highlights: