CARSON, Calif. – Another dominant performance failed to lead to the expected result Friday night for the LA Galaxy, who spent, it seemed, the full 90 minutes in and around the San Jose Earthquakes’ box.
They nonetheless had to rally from a pair of deficits and claimed just one point from a 2-2 draw that, if the statistics told the tale, probably should have been a four- or five-goal blowout.
LA conceded just two shots before second-half stoppage arrived, both on first-half counterattacks, and both provided the Earthquakes advantages. They weren’t nearly so efficient despite nearly constant possession.
"They obviously weren’t real dangerous going forward, and somehow we managed to concede two goals," head coach Bruce Arena said after another often riveting California Clasico. "I think that’s the storyline. Pretty sloppy defending on a couple of plays, and give San Jose credit, good finishing on their part.
"In general, I think we played a fairly inefficient game tonight. The quality of our passing wasn’t good. The chances that we created fell short on a night where we had the chance to score a bunch of goals and didn’t get that done and conceded way too many, given the kind of game it was."
It was clearly a frustrating evening for LA, who outshot San Jose, 24-3, but put only six shots of frame, took 10 corner kicks to none for the Quakes, and enjoyed 69.8 percent possession and 87.2 percent passing accuracy.
"It’s a tie that feels like a loss, but I think when we wake up in the morning, we’ll realize one point is better than none and to come back twice from a goal down is still good," said Landon Donovan, whose run sparked Gyasi Zardes’ first-half goal, which answered Chris Wondolowski’s opener. "We played well, we controlled the game, but we made a couple mistakes. And generally when a team has three shots, they’re not going to score twice, but that’s the way it went tonight.
"We did everything we could, the ball just didn’t find the net in the end."
The Galaxy prospered in dominant performances the past two weeks, against Seattle and Portland, but both of those teams tried to match the Galaxy on attack whenever they could. The Earthquakes were happy to sit back, keep things tight in their defensive third, and counter when the opportunity arose. It worked wonderfully.
But if there was going to be a winner, the Galaxy would certainly have prevailed. They spent the final half-hour bearing down on the Quakes’ goal and, Zardes noted, "we had multiple opportunities to put the ball away, but we just couldn’t find it."
Arena didn’t care at all about the dominance, no matter how lopsided the numbers.
"I don’t think it really matters that the statistics show we had 70 percent possession," he said. "The only statistic that matters in this game is the score, and at this time of year – and for the most part in our league – there’s a lot of teams that play to get results, which you should be doing. That’s the name of the game, and tonight, with the kind of defensive posture San Jose had, to concede two goals in the first half, you’re making things real difficult.
"And to our credit, we came back [from] behind a goal on two occasions – that’s a real positive. But I think technically, we weren’t real good tonight, and it ultimately cost us the game."