It seems the California Clasico has received a full revival on Thursday night, as longtime rivals San Jose and Los Angeles dropped their gloves and had an old-fashioned brawl, exchanging early and late blows in a 2-2 draw before at the Home Depot Center.
Landon Donovan’s 90th-minute goal pulled the Galaxy even moments before what would have been the club’s first home loss of the year.
LA made some changes to their starting lineup. Gregg Berhalter and Chris Birchall were on the bench to start the match. Berhalter had started every game since returning from injury on April 24 while Birchall had started every game except for the season opener against New England.
The changes were felt almost immediately. Barely 90 seconds into the match,Jason Hernandez lifted a ball over the top of the Galaxy defense and found Cornell Glen inside the area. Glen ripped a shot on goal butDonovan Ricketts dove and parried the ball away. The ball fell to Leonardo, who held off Chris Wondolowski. The Brazilian center back slid and tried to clear the ball, but left it on a platter for Convey, who buried it in the back of the net.
The goal was the fastest for both teams this season – San Jose had not scored an earlier goal in 2010 while the Galaxy had not given up a goal that early. It was also the first time the Galaxy had fallen behind at home this year.
Chasing the game at home for the first time this season, the Galaxy nearly atoned for their early mistake with a brief flurry around the 20th minute, but neither Juninho nor Edson Buddle could find the target.
In the 59th minute, though, the underside of the crossbar was kind to the Galaxy. Donovan got the ball near the top of the penalty area and slipped the ball to Todd Dunivant. With Gordon and Buddle near the six-yard box, Dunivant centered the ball and Buddle re-directed it on goal. The ball caromed off the crossbar but bounced across the goal line.
The goal was Buddle’s league-leading 12th of the season and also his eighth career goal against the Quakes.
In the 72nd minute, though, San Jose pulled ahead once more. Convey swung a corner kick to the front of the goal and Ike Opara muscled his way to the ball. He knocked a shot on goal, but Ricketts made a diving save. Former Galaxy midfielder Brandon McDonald, however, was on the goal line and knocked the ball into an empty net.
Right on the brink of death, though, Donovan pulled the Galaxy even. Tristan Bowen ripped a shot on goal and Quakes 'keeper Jon Busch could only knock it down in front of him. Buddle tried to hit the rebound on goal but it fell to Donovan, who only had to push it across the line for the equalizer.
San Jose Earthquakes --
Jon Busch, Jason Hernandez, Bobby Burling, Ike Opara, Ramiro Corrales,
Joey Gjertsen (Arturo Alvarez 53), Brandon McDonald, Sam Cronin, Bobby
Convey, Chris Wondolowski (Scott Sealy 67), Cornell Glen (Ryan Johnson
Los Angeles Galaxy --
Donovan Ricketts, Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo, Todd Dunivant
(Eddie Lewis 77), Landon Donovan, Dema Kovalenko (Tristan Bowen 60),
Juninho, Michael Stephens, Edson Buddle, Alan Gordon (Jovan Kirovski
Referee: Jair Marrufo
Referee's Assistants: George Gansner; Jeff Hosking
4th Official: Yader Reyes
Weather: Clear and 64 degrees