It was an ideal way for Jeremy Ebobisse to open his account with the San Jose Earthquakes – scoring in the Cali Clasico and contributing to a 2-1 victory over the LA Galaxy Friday night at Dignity Health Sports Complex.
Ebobisse arrived in San Jose as part of a blockbuster trade with the Portland Timbers just before the close of the Secondary Transfer Window. The required price was a hefty sum of General Allocation Money ($1.167 million).
“It’s very exciting,” Ebobisse said after the match. “Obviously I’ve been brought here in to add my quality to the group, to an already strong group, which is what I learned even more so from the first minute I got in — from the first guy to the last guy who’s not dressing. It’s a group that’s unified and working toward the same goal and everyone is ready to step up.”
Ebobisse broke the goalless draw in the 52nd minute, latching onto a cross from Luciano Abecasis and sending a downward header inside the far post from just outside the six-yard box.
“I was really happy to get a goal. It was great service in from Lucho and a great decoy run from Shea [Salinas], allowing me to find my own space in the box,” Ebobisse said. “From there I had a couple of chances early on in the game, the ‘keeper made some good saves so it's easy to get demoralized in those moments, wondering when is it going to fall my way. But also part of the growth and development of a striker is being relentless and understanding even if you’re missing chances, even if the goalie is making good saves, there’s another chance coming your way. I was happy to meet the quality of the cross that came in with a quality finish as well.”
It was Ebobisse’s sixth goal in seven all-time appearances against the Galaxy. He’s not sure why he’s as productive against LA as he’s been, but thinks the width of Dignity Health Sports Park might play a factor.
“Maybe the size of the pitch allows me to find some different spaces, especially here,” he said. "But as a striker you always count on service and today the service was spot on, not only on the goal, but in the first half, on some of the corner kicks. You just have to give positive reinforcements to the team feeding you balls because those are the type of balls I want every game. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Cali Clasico or any other team.”
Ebobisse also said his connection with the Quakes’ midfielders felt especially sharp in the Cali Clasico.
“This is a big field and the size of the field allows you to really focus on your spacing because if you’re well spaced and you’re sharp with your touches, then you’re going to stretch the opponent out,” Ebobisse said. “Especially at halftime we understood that there was space for me to check into the midfield and to link up with our midfielders, which then allowed them to run forward with the ball and link up with our wingers. That’s something we successfully exploited a couple of times.”
“The mentality of the team to go find that game-winner in the end symbolizes what this team’s capable of, to go on the road in the Cali Clasico against an LA Galaxy team that’s very strong, near the top of the table — I’ve played them several times with Portland and had difficult times as well,” Ebobisse said. “So to show that resilience and not put our heads down and not allow them to capitalize on the momentum from equalizing the game, that shows what this team can be if we’re in tune for 90 minutes and that’s what we were tonight.”