HIGHLIGHTS: San Jose Earthquakes vs. LA Galaxy | June 29, 2019

STANFORD, Calif. — A record crowd of 50,850 fans that packed Stanford Stadium provided the ideal scenario for the San Jose Earthquakes to make a statement of intent for the rest of the season. 

They did just that — and probably more — in Saturday night's 3-0 victory over the LA Galaxy in the first California Clasico fixture of 2019. But amid all that, manager Matias Almeyda downplayed the win against his club's main rival as  just another positive result that comes at the halfway point of their season.

"We believe in [hard] work," the Argentine coach said postgame. "We believe that they (players) can do it. Since the first moment we got here, we believed in them and we will continue to do so.

"Merit to the players, who are great interpreters of what we intend to do," he added.

It was the Earthquakes' Shea Salinas — Almeyda's first substitute of the night — with San Jose's second goal, an ode to what he did in the same venue against the Galaxy back in 2017. The veteran winger now has five goals throughout 13 games this season, a career best in what has been a 12-year MLS tenure. 

Salinas owes some of that to his new manager's tactical understanding, and some to his teammates for finding him in the right positions.

"I've just been blessed to be put in good situations," said the Quakes winger, who is one of the several players that has benefited from Almeyda's takeover. "In this game, which is a big game, it's always fun to play well and to score in front of 50,000 people.

"But the guys played unbelievable tonight; our team just fought all night, it was a battle and guys were winning their battles. I thought we could have scored more goal, so it was a good game for us."

Unbeaten in their last six league matches, the Quakes have overcome their miserable 0-4-1 start to the season to surge to fifth place in the Western Conference, two points above the playoff line.

An even though no one wants to make promises regarding October and beyond just yet, it's hard to ignore the possibilities following a convincing victory against a team that considers itself an MLS Cup contender.

"Obviously the result leaves you very happy," Almeyda said. "But the greatest happiness is seeing the players play the same way they train.

"I like because when I arrived, they were down. Today, they recognize that they can [compete] against anyone, they can compete toe-to-toe the same way they've been doing it."