FRESNO, Calif. – A pair of spectacular goals from Marcelo Sarvas and Gyasi Zardes gave the LA Galaxy possession of the inaugural Central California Cup with a 2-1 victory over the archrival San Jose Earthquakes at Chukchansi Park on Saturday.
Sarvas put the Galaxy ahead with a laser blast in the 31st minute before Zardes doubled the lead with an equally classy finish in the 54th minute. San Jose pulled to within one goal in the 67th minute from Earthquakes Academy defender Josh Morton but could not equalize.
The Earthquakes pushed the issue in the opening 15 minutes of the match, but as the half wore on, the Galaxy wrestled control of the match away from San Jose. Sarvas signaled the change in momentum in the 18th minute when he blasted a shot from nearly 30 yards into the hands of Jon Busch.
The Brazilian put the Galaxy ahead just after half an hour when after some impressive buildup play by the LA attack, Samuel nodded the ball downward and laid it in the path of Sarvas who smashed it into the far post past a helpless Busch. The Galaxy nearly doubled their lead just seven minutes later when Stefan Ishizaki found a streaking Zardes in the penalty area but the forward who attended nearby Cal-State Bakersfield saw his attempt deflected out for a corner.
Zardes eventually found the back of the net in brilliant fashion in the 54th minute when he trotted past three defenders before firing a sliding shot that sailed past Busch for the game-winner.
LA head coach Bruce Arena trotted out lineup changes around the hour mark and by the 65th minute, the Galaxy had an entirely new squad with the exception of goalkeeper Brian Perk. Just two minutes later, the Earthquakes, who also made mass subs, cut the Galaxy lead in half with a header from Morton, a Quakes Under-18 defender.
San Jose nearly equalized in the 89th minute when a streaking Sam Garza cut through the Galaxy defense, but saw his effort saved by Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Perk which was the final action in the match.
The LA Galaxy continue their preseason slate on Wednesday with a closed-door scrimmage against UCLA at StubHub Center. Following the match with the Bruins, the Galaxy will end their preseason schedule with the White vs. Blue Match against LA Galaxy II.