SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Jon Busch was the hero making seven saves on the day, but it was an early Chris Wondolowski goal that was the difference as the San Jose Earthquakes defeated the Los Angeles Galaxy 1-0 in front of a record crowd of 10,799 at Buck Shaw stadium.
The Galaxy dominated throughout the match by controlling much of the possession against San Jose, but time and time again, Los Angeles was unable to capitalize due to the stellar play of Busch. Despite constant pressure from a Galaxy club eager to get the equalizer, the Quakes keeper was able to come up large to preserve the result for the home side.
"At the end of the day, I just did my job and some days you have more to do than others," said Busch. "Once I started making saves and I felt comfortable, I just got into the zone and blocked everything else out."
Although Los Angeles was the constant aggressor, the Quakes were able to strike paydirt four minutes into the match. Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts appeared to have misjudged a Bobby Convey cross that fell behind the defense for Wondolowski. Behind the defense, the Quakes forward was able to put the ball into a tight angle and into the Galaxy net for the only goal of the match.
With the Galaxy behind early, the match grew increasingly physical as the visitors looked to rebound against a stingy San Jose defense. Emblematic of a rivalry match, the game saw a total of 26 fouls in what was a tough affair. As the game grew, it became a box to box affair with each team trading chances. However, with a majority of the chances, Los Angeles left the match feeling as though they let one get away.
"It was certainly a game that we gift wrapped to that other team, no question about that," said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. "Today was a day that if we're a little bit sharper then we don't lose the game, we get three points, but we did not give ourselves any favors by the way we started the game."
Los Angeles entered the match missing a trio of key players as defender Gregg Berhalter and forward Tristan Bowen were both unable to play due to flu-like symptoms and defender Todd Dunivant was also held out due to neck spasms. Against the highly active San Jose defense, the Galaxy appeared to be missing the speed of Bowen as the Earthquakes were able to outwork Los Angeles through the afternoon.
However, the story on the day was the play of Busch. After only regaining the starting position due to goalkeeper Joe Cannon breaking his ankle this week in training, the goalkeeper was clearly confident now that the starting spot was clearly his. The goalkeeper's save of the match came just before the end of the first half stopping a break away effort by Landon Donovan.
"We brought Jon in to make sure that we were going to be solid in that position and it proved today that it was a great move today," said Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop. "We've got a great goalkeeper in Jon and I thought that he was just outstanding today."
For the Earthquakes, the match saw the debut of the club's first ever Designated Player signing, the Brazilian Geovanni. After signing on Monday, the playmaker played 18 minute and was deployed as a second striker late in the match. Geovanni may have been unlucky to not pick up his first MLS goal in the 90th minute after forcing a save from Ricketts.
With the loss, Los Angeles falls to 13-4-4 with 43 points while San Jose advances to a record of 8-6-5 with 29 points. The Earthquakes who are in the midst of a playoff run are now tied with the Sounders for the sixth and final spot in the playoffs. With a playoff appearance looking possible for San Jose, Busch admitted that the Quakes remain focused on what they can do to give the club their first appearance in the playoffs since returning to the league.
"In this locker room, we don't worry about whose where because in the end of the day, all we take care of is our own business," said Busch. "In the end of the day, you need to take care of your own business."