The San Jose Earthquakes are weak on the road but, somehow, the Los Angeles Galaxy are even worse at home. Sunday’s matchup at Stubhub Center made for an interesting contest between struggling sides and it was the Earthquakes that came out well on top at 3-0 to earn their first away victory under new coach Chris Leitch.
Goals from Vako Qazaishvili, Marco Ureña, and Chris Wondolowski sealed a decisive victory with a touch of swagger rarely seen in recent weeks.
Despite a rough start, the Quakes grew into the game. Thompson played Ureña in behind the defense in the seventh minute but the Costa Rican forward rushed his finish and shanked a weak shot miles wide. Vako and Ureña were denied by Galaxy goalkeeper Jon Kempin later in the first half, which was more than the Galaxy managed to put on target.
Poor finishing notwithstanding, Ureña was the focal point of the Quakes’ attack. He floated a curling effort wide from a short corner in the thirty-second minute and his hold-up play was the key to their counter-attacking strategy. His incisive run down the right opened space for a low effort shortly thereafter, which Kempin just about managed to keep under control.
The Quakes, however, remained vulnerable on set pieces. Dave Romney forced a key block out of Andrew Tarbell from a corner in the thirty-eighth minute and Daniel Steres headed over from Joao Pedro’s recycled cross.
Count on the Earthquakes to defeat the Galaxy with a stoppage time goal, though, and that’s exactly what they did as Vako netted the decisive goal three minutes into first half added time. Vako smashed Shea Salinas’ corner into back of the net with an emphatic volley and the Galaxy never recovered.
The Earthquakes nearly conceded their lead early into the second half as the referee called a penalty for Darwin Ceren’s clumsy challenge on Pedro, but VAR ruled that the foul was just outside of the box and Giovani dos Santos’ free-kick was saved by Tarbell. The Quakes benefited from another big call ten minutes later when Nathan Smith was sent off for a rash challenged on Andres Imperiale and the Earthquakes never looked back.
Danny Hoesen’s introduction lended pace to their attack and the Quakes were rewarded with two lovely goals from Ureña and Wondo to cap the type of performance that has the potential to be season-turning.