STANFORD, Calif. – San Jose Earthquakes rookie Sam Garza hasn’t made much of an impact at the MLS level this year, but he etched his name in the club’s US Open Cup lore Tuesday.
Garza scored his first two professional goals and the Quakes staged a second-half comeback to beat the second-division Fort Lauderdale Strikers 2-1 in a third-round USOC match at Stanford University's Cagan Stadium.
The rookie attacker tallied in the 63rd and 70th minutes to help San Jose recover from a 1-0 halftime deficit after Mark Anderson put the Strikers ahead in the 38th minute.
The Earthquakes will host the NASL’s Minnesota Stars in a fourth-round match on June 5, also at Cagan Stadium.
Garza, the No. 6 pick in this year’s MLS draft, made his first start with San Jose’s first team despite playing just 72 minutes in league play thus far. The UC Santa Barbara product blazed a wide-open chance well over the crossbar in the 61st minute, but avenged that error two minutes later when he converted a square pass from Simon Dawkins along the top of Fort Launderdale’s penalty area for his first goal.
Garza hammered home his second goal when a deflected San Jose shot fell to him 22 yards out.
Anderson had a couple of chances to pull Fort Lauderdale back, but his hardest-hit shot, a 74th-minute attempt from 15 yards, was pushed over the crossbar by leaping San Jose goalkeeper David Bingham.
Bingham was unable to do anything with Anderson’s looping 45-yard delivery just before halftime. Anderson caught the second-string goalie off his line with a shot that sailed straight over Bingham’s head and into the net.
San Jose had two great chances in successive minutes early in the match. A deflected pass in the 17th minute landed at the feet of Steven Lenhart just inside the Strikers’ penalty area, but Fort Lauderdale goalkeeper Matt Glaeser stymied him with a left-footed kick save. Glaeser came up big in the 18th minute as well, knocking Sercan Guvenisik’s bouncing header over the crossbar.
The Quakes, who were without Chris Wondolowski (United States) and Víctor Bernárdez (Honduras) due to international duty, fielded a decidedly mixed squad. Mainstays such as Lenhart, Tressor Moreno, Sam Cronin and Justin Morrow all saw action, but undrafted rookie Josh Suggs (left back) and offseason acquisition Jean-Marc Alexandre (holding midfielder) made their first-team debuts for San Jose.
FTL – Mark Anderson (unassisted) 38
SJ – Sam Garza (Sercan Guvenisik, Simon Dawkins) 63
SJ – Sam Garza (Steven Lenhart) 70.
SJ – Justin Morrow (caution) 50
FTL – Scott Lorenz (caution) 55
SJ – Sam Garza (caution) 66
FTL – Walter Restrepo (caution) 89.
San Jose Earthquakes – David Bingham, Brad Ring, Ike Opara, Justin Morrow, Josh Suggs (Steven Beitashour 65), Sam Cronin (Simon Dawkins 56), Jean-Marc Alexandre, Tressor Moreno, Sam Garza, Steven Lenhart, Sercan Guvenisik (Rafael Baca 88).
Fort Lauderdale Strikers – Matt Glaeser, Nickardo Blake, Conor Shanosky, Jack Stewart, Scott Lorenz, Leopaldo Morales (Andy Herron 78), Alfonso Motagalvan (Abel Gebor 64), Walter Restrepo, Pecka, Abe Thompson, Mark Anderson.
Geoff Lepper covers the Earthquakes for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.