Galaxy pair eliminate Earthquakes
The Los Angeles Galaxy continued their Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup mastery over the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday night, notching a 2-1 win despite playing the last 27 minutes with 10 men. The victory propelled the visitors into the semifinals of the country's oldest cup competition.
Galaxy forward Hercules Gomez was the hero, tallying two first half goals, while the Quakes' goal was scored by Ronald Cerritos. It marked the fourth time Los Angeles had prevailed against their northern rivals in the U.S. Open Cup without a defeat.
The Galaxy settled quickly, and nearly broke on top after just four minutes. Quakes' goalkeeper Jon Conway punched Todd Dunivant's cross straight to Gomez, whose volley from seven yards out forced a sliding save from Conway.
But Gomez got over the disappointment and put the Galaxy on top just a minute later. A clearance out of the Quakes' defense was headed by Jovan Kirovski straight into the path of Gomez, who evaded a challenge from San Jose defender Danny Califf, and scored low to Conway's right for a 1-0 lead.
Gomez caused the Quakes all kinds of problems with his speed, and he nearly doubled the Galaxy's advantage in the seventh minute. Another quick lead pass found the Los Angeles forward open on the right side of the box, but he shot into the side netting.
The home side attempted to hit back, forcing a series of corners over the first half hour. The best chance came in the 24th minute when Hartman's attempted punch went straight to Quakes midfielder Brian Mullan, but he shot tamely over the bar.
San Jose received a blow in the 29th minute, when Brad Davis suffered a recurrence of a left groin injury and the Quakes brought on Julian Nash to replace him.
But no sooner had Nash come on when the Galaxy's Gomez scored a second goal that was a near carbon copy of the first. Kirovski was again the provider, as his through ball found Gomez in stride and he duly buried his shot past a diving Conway.
Play turned increasingly physical thereafter. The Quakes' Eddie Robinson and Danny O'Rourke, as well as the Galaxy's Paulo Nagamura had already earned cautions in the first 30 minutes, but when Dunivant and Pando Ramirez were booked for hard fouls in the 35th and 37th minutes respectively, some form of retaliation seemed inevitable. It duly arrived in the 43rd minute when San Jose's Kelly Gray earned yellow for a late tackle on Ramirez.
The Quakes began the second half determined to carry the play, and while they enjoyed a sizable territorial advantage, San Jose were reduced to half chances.
But the Quakes were thrown a lifeline in the 63rd minute when Dunivant received his second caution for a late hit on Nash. With an eye towards bolstering their attack, the Quakes brought on Cerritos for Russell and went to a three-back alignment. The Galaxy responded by bringing on Ugo Ihemelu for Kirovski, as well as Cobi Jones for Ned Grabavoy.
After initially struggling to create any chances with the man advantage, the San Jose attack sprung to life in the 75th minute. A superb diving save from Hartman denied De Rosario's close range header, but on their next attack, Cerritos nodded home Mullan's cross to halve the deficit.
It set up a frantic final 15 minutes that saw the Quakes earn numerous set piece opportunities. But the Galaxy held on to earn a valuable victory, as well as a psychological edge heading into this weekend's league contest against San Jose.
Jeff Carlisle is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.
Los Angeles Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes
August 24, 2005 -- Spartan Stadium
LA -- Herculez Gomez (Jovan Kirovski) 5
LA -- Herculez Gomez (Jovan Kirovski) 31
SJ -- Ronald Cerritos (Brian Mullan) 76
Los Angeles Galaxy -- Kevin Hartman, Troy Roberts, Tyrone Marshall, Pablo Chinchilla, Todd Dunivant, Ned Grabavoy (Cobi Jones 70), Peter Vagenas, Paulo Nagamura, Guillermo Ramirez, Jovan Kirovski (Ugo Ihemelu 67), Herculez Gomez (Ednaldo da Conceicao 83).
Substitutes Not Used: Chris Albright, Steve Cronin, Michael Enfield, Joseph Ngwenya.
TOTAL SHOTS: 7 (Herculez Gomez 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Herculez Gomez 3); FOULS: 22 (Tyrone Marshall 5); OFFSIDES: 1 (Ednaldo da Conceicao 1); CORNER KICKS: 1 (Jovan Kirovski 1); SAVES: 5 (Kevin Hartman 5)
San Jose Earthquakes -- Jon Conway, Kelly Gray (Kevin Goldthwaite 71), Eddie Robinson, Danny Califf, Wade Barrett, Ian Russell (Ronald Cerritos 64), Dwayne De Rosario, Danny O'Rourke, Brad Davis (Julian Nash 31) (Mark Chung 72), Alejandro Moreno, Brian Mullan.
Substitutes Not Used: Ryan Cochrane, Pat Onstad, Chris Wondolowski.
TOTAL SHOTS: 12 (Dwayne De Rosario 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Dwayne De Rosario 2); FOULS: 25 (3 tied with 4); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 11 (Brad Davis 4, Dwayne De Rosario 4); SAVES: 2 (Jon Conway 2)
SJ -- Eddie Robinson (caution; Pushing, Holding) 19
LA -- Paulo Nagamura (caution; Tackle from Behind) 28
SJ -- Danny O'Rourke (caution; Tackle from Behind) 34
LA -- Todd Dunivant (caution; Pushing, Holding) 35
LA -- Guillermo Ramirez (caution; Pushing, Holding) 38
SJ -- Kelly Gray (caution; Pushing, Holding) 43
LA -- Todd Dunivant (caution; Pushing, Holding) 63
LA -- Todd Dunivant (ejection; Second Caution) 63
SJ -- Dwayne De Rosario (caution; Game Disrepute) 85
Referee: Terry Vaughn
Referee's Assistants: -Chris Strickland; Jose Corro
4th Official: Yader Reyes
Time of Game: 1:53
All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.