As the San Jose Earthquakes brace themselves to "welcome" the LA Galaxy for the annual California Clásico held at Stanford Stadium on Saturday night (10 pm ET | UniMas - Full TV & streaming info), we decided to take a stroll down memory lane to re-live the craziest moments from the six previous meetings in Palo Alto.
Fair warning for Galaxy fans: as your boys have managed just one win and one draw from this particular fixture to date, this read is not going to elicit any happy reminiscing. But with new superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic already proving to be a derby assassin, perhaps the visitors can make the next stirring Stanford chapter theirs.
3. San Jose 2, LA Galaxy 1
July 1, 2017
SETTING THE SCENE San Jose started this one winless in four Clásicos and likely smarting from a galling 4-2 Avaya defeat against their rivals just over a month prior. With his side severely shorthanded by injuries and international call-ups, Galaxy skipper Jelle Van Damme started the scoring by smashing home an 11th-minute volley off a restart.
While San Jose carried nearly 70 percent of possession, they were unable to put a single shot on target until the 75th minute. That's when Wondolowski (who else?) snapped a personal five-game goal drought after racing onto a long Bingham boot. The Quakes' strike ace made a sharp cut at the LA 18' to make space for a sublime left-footed equalizer.
THE BIG MOMENT With a minute remaining in stoppage time, Danny Hoesen collected a pass amid five Galaxy defenders at the top of the box and calmly laid off for a criminally unmarked Salinas, who fired the winner in off the underside of the bar from a sharp angle. In jubilation, the Earthquakes wide man ripped off his jersey and sprinted 2/3 the length of the field as the home fans went berzerk.
In a season that saw the Quakes scraaaape into the playoffs, this Stanford comeback proved to be huge in the big picture. As for the Galaxy, the loss was the second in a string of six straight that led them on a path to the wooden spoon.
2. San Jose 4, LA Galaxy 3
June 30, 2012
SETTING THE SCENE The Earthquakes got off to a dream start in the first California Clásico played at Stanford Stadium, as Steven Lenhart nodded home the opener after just seven minutes. The lead didn't last, though, as LA stormed back to take a 3-1 lead thanks to a vintage David Beckham free kick, an own goal and a Landon Donovan tally.
Victor Bernardez netted his first goal for San Jose on the edge of intermission to halve the lead and Sam Cronin slid home his first Quakes goal (in his 67th match with the club) to level matters just after the break. The hosts would dodge a bullet when Galaxy left back Todd Dunivant surged forward for a shot in the 54th minute. Replays appeared to show that the Quakes defender blocked the attempt with his hand, but referee Hilario Grajeda ignored the visitors' frantic penalty shouts.
THE BIG MOMENT One could easily point to Wondolowski's cheeky back-heel winner from a 61st-minute corner kick as the game's climax. However, the Quakes would only chalk up the victory after surviving a wild 84th-minute sequence in front of their own net.
At halftime, Bingham replaced injured starting 'keeper Jon Busch to make just his third MLS appearance. The youngster made an excellent save on Beckham's break-in with 13 minutes left, then soon had to withstand another major scare.
After Justin Morrow cleared away a deflected Sean Franklin drive from 25 yards, the Galaxy quickly threatened again. First, Bingham clawed a looping effort from a goalmouth scramble. A generous rebound looked to be falling kindly for Chad Barrett, but Morrow dove in to shield the LA forward away from the ball. The danger was not done, though, as the San Jose left back had to then alertly jump to his feet to block David Junior Lopes' attempt at the doorstep to preserve the win.
By grabbing victory from the jaws of defeat, San Jose earned a big three points — the same margin of their Supporters' Shield triumph. Unfortunately for them, the Galaxy got revenge in the Conference Semifinals on their way to the MLS Cup crown.
1. San Jose 3, LA Galaxy 2
June 29, 2013
SETTING THE SCENE Almost a year later to the day, San Jose went into the Stanford Clásico struggling mightily. With but one win in their last 12 league contests and just one from their last five at home, the Quakes were desperate to get well. Both teams were chasing the playoff line, so the match was poised to be an especially tense derby.
Thanks to goals from Marcelo Sarvas and Hector Jimenez, the visitors owned a 2-0 lead through 67 minutes. And that's when it all fell apart. Once-and-future Galaxy striker Alan Gordon (who had yet to score on the 2013 season after bagging a career-best 15 the year before), got San Jose on the board by nodding in a Salinas cross. Still, their rally efforts seemed doomed when Bernardez was shown the gate for a phantom second yellow card foul in the 77th minute.
THE BIG MOMENT The setback would only slow San Jose until stoppage time. Ninety seconds into 4 minutes of added time, a long San Jose throw-in twice deflected by Galaxy defenders was spilled by netminder Carlo Cudicini, allowing Salinas to knot the score at 2-2.
Then, mere seconds after the ensuing kickoff, the Quakes carved out a famous winner. Cronin received a cutback in the area, but instead of shooting, he lofted a delicate pinpoint ball for Gordon to crash home at the back post. The home side and its fans went appropriately bonkers to cap one of the wildest comebacks in league history.