Stoppage-time goals deliver Earthquakes comeback victory in Cali Clasico

Alan Gordon

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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:

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55 Responses to Stoppage-time goals deliver Earthquakes comeback victory in Cali Clasico

  1. Sergio of SF says:

    That was epic, just left the stadium. Good to see Landon in form heading to the gold cup.. Wondo on the other hand….well, I forgot he was playing.

  2. Gary Page says:

    This was one of the worst Galaxy losses ever. They should have scored at least 3 more goals. Their defense collapsed in the last few minutes. They gave the game away. The play that really got to me was about the 85th or 86th minute. On a counter Keene and Donovan broke through and closed in on goal with only one defender and the goalie. They p@ssed the ball back and forth in front of the goal, both men failing to take advantage of open, unmarked opportunities for a shot on goal, allowing the defenders to get back and ended up not even getting a shot on goal. Given the prominence and history of the two players (both all time goal scorers for their countries), it was a truly remarkable display of hesitance and incompetence. If I were Bruce Arena, I would have trouble containing myself for this loss when they should have won going away.

  3. EspinDOHla says:

    Great comeback for SJ. However, the LAG should have easily put that game away long before stoppage time. I remember the play Gary is referring to. I couldn’t believe it myself.

    I hope that red (or second yellow) gets rescinded, that was BS…can’t stand those flops.

    • Kush says:

      Studs-up gets called, flop or no

      • EspinDOHla says:

        Are you serious? Juninho acted like he got his foot ripped off!! Didn’t even get touched. This is huge reason that turns people off from this sport.

      • Rabbit says:

        Even if you make no contact? Really? So if you come in and don’t touch a guy at all, that’s a yellow? It’s not even a foul.

    • Limey says:

      The law states that if you leave the ground and go in studs up, it’s a straight red card. That was the easiest call the ref had to make all night.

  4. Sushant Rao says:

    I was at the game and I have to say it, the Galaxy miss Magee. Neither Rogers nor Zardes (yes, both play different positions) have made up for the loss of Magee. He had a great rapport with Keane and Donovan, something which RR nor GZ have (yet). I think Galaxy will be much better by the end of the season, but they aren’t there yet.

    • Gary Page says:

      Hope you’re right about the Galaxy getting better. I didn’t like the Rogers trade and it looks worse with each passing week.

  5. Brian says:

    San Jose may have the worst TV announcers I’ve ever listened to. I usually catch Quake games on the radio where the crew is much less annoying.

    • John says:

      Wow, I love them, I thought they caught the energy of that game, it was epic.

      • Brian says:

        The noise from 50k rabid fans would’ve done the job just fine but some foolish announcer had to overlay it with screams of “GORDON! GORDON! GORDON!” The announcers need to be good storytellers, not cheerleaders.

        • Jason says:

          Yeah…Diddley screams bloody murder when theres anything close to a shot on goal…its actually quite uncomfortable to listen to most of the time.

    • Gene says:

      I support the Quakes and the announcers are insufferable.

  6. chris_thebassplayer says:

    That was a phenomenal finish, two goals in stoppage time playing a man down. I agree with Gary though, LA had so many opportunities on the counter to ice the game, but played so cute and cheeky, it wound up biting them in the azz big time. Quakes did not play well in the first half and there were more than a few WTF glares between Quake players. The body language was poor until Gordo’s goal threw them a lifeline. Gordo is so much more effective coming off the bench than starting. Salinas was very good, he is playing with confidence and making quick decisions. Something clicked for him….Maybe Watson simplified what he wanted to see from him…basically get behind your mark with speed, cross the ball and forget about everything else. Huge Win, something to hopefully build upon.

  7. Goalscorer24 says:

    Absolutely awful to lose that game for the galaxy. They first failed to put the game away on multiple chances, and then even worse they let San Jose tie the game and if that wasn’t bad enough they let San Jose win the game in a 5 minute period. A complete defense collapse. The Galaxy should be embarrassed.

  8. WK says:

    Hah- what a game! Who would’ve thought they could top last year’s 4-3 win?! Gordon sure as hell did… The winner was awesome: Chavez streaks up the left dances on the ball, breaks both of de lagarza’s ankles, has a little chuckle to himself, then lays it off to Morrow who sends it across for the winning sequence. I’m still laughing!

  9. Brandon says:

    This was one of the worst games I have ever seen the Galaxy play. Only guy who was playing the full 90 was Keane. Just awful.

  10. matt says:

    The galaxy fans keep trying to say they dont miss Beckham. They are wrong.

    • beachbum says:

      We miss Beckham

    • Limey says:

      I certainly miss him but the Galaxy should have won that game easily with or without Beckham. They just fall to AG’s juju

    • chris_thebassplayer says:

      They play better without him, but they miss his leadership in front of the back line.

      The problem with LA is that they are too good. They move the ball so well, especially on the counter, they almost lose interest in their opportunities because they know they’ll have another chance a few minutes later…unselfish to a fault. There were probably 3-4 times last night when a simple first time side footer would have scored the goal, but they tried to set up a teammate with an even easier opportunity.

      This season, the defense mentally fades when they think the game is in hand…that’s a lack of leadership issue in the D….and that’s where they miss Beckham, because he would be in everybody’s face at the first sign of mental lapses…he would be in Omar’s ear nonstop for the last 20 minutes to finish out the game. So yeah, they miss his presence.

  11. AC says:

    Good gosh, 50,000 plus for that game at Stanford Stadium. San Jose will have some packed games in their new stadium when it opens. And that was the REAL CLASICO in MLS.

    • Gary Page says:

      What with this crowd, the similar sized crowd at last year’s match and the games in the Pacific Northwest, it would seem that soccer is arriving as a major sport in the US. And the media are starting to pay attention. Love it.

  12. Jason says:

    Juninho, you frecking flopper! LA desreved to loose just because of that sequence of theatrics. Hopefully this win over la will be the catalyst for some more “Goonie” magic comming up.

    • Rabbit says:

      I like this karmic interpretation of the game.

      When i saw that flop I decided right then and there that I do not like Juninho.

  13. beachbum says:

    How many games will LA late in the 2nd half this year? How many is it already this year, 9, 10? They are not good and unless serving changes the Magee trade is a disaster for them

  14. bluenblack says:

    This game was insane. As a Quakes’ fan, I really thought LA was going to dominate and they did for vast stretches of the match. However, as much as they miss Magee and Beckham, I think LA has more than enough firepower and a midfield to have put this game away. This is a game the Quakes had no business winning and yet they pulled it out. Bravo.

  15. AzTeXan says:

    This must be one of those “moments” that the Don is always talking about.

  16. AzTeXan says:

    While I would normally pile on the GaLOLxy like everyone else I would like to point out that it really only matters that they make the playoffs because any hot team can win the Cup once you’re in the tournament.

    • Charles says:

      Sorry what was that again, I can’t hear you over 50k fans who really cared about this regular season game.

      • AzTeXan says:

        Hey, I said right above that I thought it was a great game and I was glad LA lost. It just wouldn’t surprise me if you lost to them in the playoffs like you did last year.

        link to

        Hope I’m wrong.

  17. Limey says:

    Great game, great crowd, great meltdown by the Galaxy. They should start fining the team a weeks wages for every goal they give up in the last ten minutes of a game.

    So I’ve watched soccer for about 45 years and some stuff I still don’t get, like why is a two goal lead harder to hold than a one goal lead? And why did Allen Gordon not look good enough for MLS when he was on the Galaxy and now look like he is a league ahead of them? Unbelievable well done again Allen.

    • Gary Page says:

      I’ve been watching soccer for only about 40 years, but I’ll give you what I have heard about a 2 goal lead. The thinking is, as I have heard it, there is more complacency when you have a 2 goal lead and this is especially so when it is relatively early in the game. The leading team also tends to play even more defensively in such a case. The problem is that if and when the other team scores, they get hope and momentum and the leading team is really put on its heels. This often results in the losing team getting a tying goal before the leading team can pull itself together. With momentum and spirits lifted, the losing team now is in a good position to win after tying it up.

    • Rabbit says:

      A two goal lead is not harder to hold than a one goal lead. That’s a myth that gets propagated through the cliche’ “a 2 goal lead is the most dangerous lead”.

      Statistically, if you have a 2 goal lead you’re more likely to win than if you have a 1 goal lead.

  18. louis z says:

    I’m curious and in a way worry that our starting CB for my national team couldn’t help out in this meltdown.

    • Rabbit says:

      I believe he headed the ball backwards and toward his own net on the first SJ goal off of the throw in.

    • Bobb says:

      Hey, no one seems to mind that Gonzalez makes 3-4 mental errors per game for the national team, why should they start criticizing him now.

      • louis z says:

        actually the talk has been that he only makes mistakes because he needs “practice with the national team” I have said many times that is OG’s way of playing, good games with a few bad ones.

  19. swift says:

    Typical classless game by the Galaxy punk attitudes, flopping and arrogance what else should we expect.But LA you have something to look forward to on Wednesday Juninho’s suspension for that flop.

  20. Fisch says:

    MLS game of the Year, two years running
    My hearing is just coming back . . . so much fun to be a part of these epic clashes!!!

    • Limey says:

      Glad you enjoyed it, pretty sure it will be the highlight of your season again. 3peat!

  21. Doug says:

    Regarding the Quakes’ announcers, I like Dibley’s enthusiasm, but when he referred to an AR as a “line judge” OMG.