SANTA CLARA, Calif. – In the war of words, Omar Gonzalez finally came out on top.
The LA Galaxy center back left a message for the San Jose Earthquakes the last time these teams faced off at Buck Shaw Stadium two-and-a-half weeks ago, calling the Supporters’ Shield winners “a bunch of jokes” and their physical style “embarrassing.”
On Wednesday night, after the Galaxy finally vanquished the Earthquakes 3-1 to advance to the Western Conference Championship, Gonzalez was able to smile and get the last word.
“It’s amazing,” the 2011 Defender of the Year told reporters. “They did well during the year, but they couldn’t pull it off tonight and it just felt great to hear that whistle blow and for it to finally be over with those guys.”
The Galaxy’s resounding victory over the Quakes was their first in five tries during 2012. San Jose had rallied in three of those games for two wins and a draw and stole a win at the Home Depot Center in the first leg of the Western Conference Semifinals this past Saturday.
One of the most intriguing side plots in their two most recent clashes was the battle between Gonzalez and firebrand Quakes forward Steven Lenhart, in which both players tussled regularly and took turns knocking the other to the ground during aerial battles.
Wednesday was no different, as they locked horns repeatedly. In the 41st minute, Gonzalez gave Lenhart a little elbow grease as both went up for a ball near the top of the box and received a yellow card for his trouble.
After getting back to his feet, Lenhart retaliated with a shove to Gonzalez a minute later, receiving his own yellow card. The Quakes man’s rash reaction was probably the lasting image of the personal feud between the two big men.
“I think I got the better of him today,” Gonzalez said. “It just feels good. We finally put this team down.”