The San Jose Earthquakes punished LAFC for a pair of failed clearances, scoring early in each half en route to a 2-0 victory over their California rivals at PayPal Park Saturday night.

In a battle of squads trying to push above the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs line in the Western Conference, San Jose are now level on points with LAFC following a second consecutive win, three points behind seventh-place Real Salt Lake.

The Earthquakes capitalized on a defensive miscue to take the lead just three minutes after the opening kickoff when Eduardo "Chofis" Lopez intercepted a poor attempted headed clearance by Mamadou Fall off a Quakes long ball before playing Benji Kikanovic into the box. The San Jose native rounded LAFC goalkeeper Tomás Romero before slipping the ball into the open net.

Just two minutes into the second half, the Quakes doubled their lead. Marcos Lopez received the ball back after his initial service was deflected, but not cleared by three different LAFC defenders, and found an open Chofis in the box, who continued his sterling form with his 11th goal of the season and sixth in his last three matches.

Eric Remedi was inches from making it 3-0, heading a Marcos Lopez cross off the post in the 55th minute. Two minutes later, LAFC had their first good chance as Cristian Arango delicately headed a ball into Danny Musovski's path, but he put his attempt off the side netting.

LAFC boss Bob Bradley made four changes just before the hour mark, looking to create a spark for the final 30 minutes. One of those who entered was Raheem Edwards, who beat JT Marcinkowski to a ball in the box but hit the crossbar with his shot in the 69th minute.

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Goals

  • 3’ – SJ – Benji Kikanovic | WATCH
  • 47’ – SJ – Chofis Lopez | WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: Oh how the Western Conference is turning. Just when it appeared LAFC were a lock to move into a playoff spot following three consecutive wins, it’s now back-to-back defeats and an all-around poor showing against fellow postseason chasers San Jose. Conversely, Chofis is trying to carry the Quakes into the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs on his shoulders following consecutive wins.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: This goal by Chofis gave the hosts some breathing room. And he got a big assist from porous defending by LAFC.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: Chofis for Newcomer of the Year? The Mexican attacker remains one of the league’s most in-form players, scoring two minutes into the second half after helping set up Kikanovic’s opener. His joy, and confidence, was evident with every touch of the ball.

Next Up

  • SJ: Wednesday, Sept. 29 vs. Seattle Sounders | 10:30 pm ET (MLS LIVE on ESPN+)
  • LAFC: Wednesday, Sept. 29 vs. Portland Timbers | 10:30 pm ET (MLS LIVE on ESPN+)

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