After falling to the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, Bruce Arena made several changes to the starting eleven giving some of the younger players an opportunity to showcase their talent — and in the end, it paid off. The lone goal of the match was scored in the sixth minute of play by Jose Villarreal as the Galaxy held on to a 1-0 victory.
It was San Jose who came barnstorming down the pitch from the opening whistle through their homegrown product, Tommy Thompson. He danced around inside the box, looked for an opening, and nearly found the first opportunity of the match before Leonardo knocked the ball out.
The Galaxy responded just moments later. Jose Villarreal broke the deadlock in just the sixth minute of play after a fantastic solo effort. The move started with a long ball sent in over the top behind the Earthquakes defense. Villarreal got on the end of the pass, made a bit of a diagonal run into the box and finished the move off with an excellent strike past Bryan Meredith.
After the frantic opening ten minutes of the match, the pace of play did finally settle down with the G’s controlling the majority of the possession and creating a couple of half-chances.
San Jose nearly found an equalizer right on the half hour mark through Sherrod. However, he was a bit offside as the ball was sent in the box and was ruled out with the Galaxy keeping their 1-0 advantage.
There was more pressure coming from the home side late in the first half with Barrera’s curled effort missing just wide of the goal and they followed that up by winning a corner that eventually went out for a goal kick.
Jose Villarreal came back moments later down the other end of the pitch and rifled his effort a bit too high of the goal. He was really involved in the attack in the first half half, being both the creator and the finisher on more than one occasion.
The Earthquakes came out of the gates quickly to start the second 45 minutes, looking to use their pace up top to get around the defense. However, in the first ten minutes or so, they looked solid apart from a free header from JJ Koval inside the box off of a corner.
San Jose were absolutely relentless in this area of the game in the second half but could not find a way through on goal. Nyassi unleashed a rocket from about 25 yards away from goal in the 66th minute of the match that soared wide and to the right of the frame.
Cordell Cato whipped the ball into a very dangerous area in the box where a little touch from Adam Jahn saw the ball fall to Leandro Barrera and his rip missed inches wide of the near post as the Earthquakes were gaining more and more confidence in the final third of the pitch.
Los Angeles’ first good chance of the second half finally came in the 72nd minute with Villarreal finding Mendiola after he made a fantastic run to get into the eighteen yard box. The youngster, unfortunately, could not get a good enough touch on the ball as Meredith came storming off his line to close down the angle.
Alan Gordon had the chance to double the Galaxy’s lead in the 80th minute as his header was stopped by a diving Meredith with the SJ shot stopper keeping the ball from crossing the white line.
Despite the constant pressure from San Jose in that second half, the Los Angeles Galaxy held on for the victory and will face Real Salt Lake in the next round of the US Open Cup.