GBS, Zlatan: San Jose weren't better than LA Galaxy in California Clasico

With a casual glance at the scoreline, it’s easy to think the San Jose Earthquakes dominated the LA Galaxy on Saturday in the latest version of the California Clasico. The 3-0 win made Matias Almeyda’s team unbeaten in six MLS games, all before 50,850 fans at Stanford Stadium.

But two figureheads for the Galaxy – head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Zlatan Ibrahimovic – feel the result wasn’t reflective of the match.

“I think it was an equal game, but obviously, if you look at the 3-0 result, it looks like they macerated us,” Ibrahimovic said. “I think it was an equal game, but mistakes make a difference. We made more mistakes than them and we got punished for it. If we did it the right way, what we were supposed to do, the game would be very different.”

The mistakes Ibrahimovic referenced came fast and furious late in the match, as San Jose made it 2-0 through Shea Salinas and then 3-0 when Tommy Thompson banked home a shot – all after the 80th minute.

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Before then, Earthquakes’ goalkeeper Daniel Vega was called into action for what was ultimately a six-save performance. He denied a Dave Romney side volley, an Ibrahimovic curler and a Joe Corona long-range strike – any of which could have made 1-1. 

Those rued opportunities added up, Schelotto said.

“I think it was over after their second goal [in the 80th minute],” Schelotto said. “We didn’t play a good game. We didn’t play the game we came to play. I don’t know about them, I don’t [think they did either] because they couldn’t manage the ball or manage the game, even when they started to beat us in the first half. I don’t know if the result is okay, 3-0 – it’s too much I think [and it doesn’t reflect the game].”

It’s all talk for now, though the Galaxy don’t have to wait long to prove their convictions are accurate. An Earthquakes’ rematch arrives July 12 at Dignity Health Sports Park, where LA is currently 6-3 on the year.

Ibrahimovic sees tremendous parity in MLS as a whole, which flared up during the first 2019 California Clasico.

“I think with MLS, it’s special,” Ibrahimovic said. “Today’s result would say normally we are not good enough, but the opponent is not better than us. It’s tricky because when you play against opponents, you feel when they’re better and you feel when they’re less better. I think the whole MLS is equal. It’s like 50/50 every game and everything can happen, just like today.”

Even with frustrations towards his own team, Schelotto stick by his convictions. 

“Even with everything I’ve said right now, San Jose was never more than us,” the Argentine manager said. “The game was always very even but when they had the opportunity in the second half in the 80th minute, they scored it and won the game."

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