San Jose Earthquakes 1-3 LA Galaxy: Reigning champs squeak by

Zac Lee Rigg
November 8, 2012
Ball bounces LA's way in fifth California Clasico

Before the match, the San Jose Earthquakes handed out "Never say die" headbands to accompany blue Steven Lenhart wigs, but on Wednesday the 'Quakes playoff hopes died. The LA Galaxy overcame a home loss to win 3-1 in Buck Shaw Stadium and advance to the Western Conference final.

Robbie Keane scored an early double and Mike Magee added a killer just before the half to help the Galaxy overcome a one-goal deficit from the first leg in the last California Clasico of the season. Alan Gordon pulled one back for the home side.

Early in the match, Victor Bernardez, who scored the winner in Los Angeles on Sunday, sprained his right knee. Ike Opara, who hasn't started since Sept. 19, replaced him.

The substitution quickly hurt the Earthquakes. AFter 20 minutes, Opara failed to step up to Robbie Keane, who clanked a low shot in off the near post.

The top scorer of the regular season had a glaring chance to equalize five minutes later. Omar Gonzalez chested down a Marvin Chavez cross into traffic, and Chris Wondolowski, scorer of 27 this year, smashed an open chance over the bar.

The reining MLS Cup champion ruthlessly took advantage. With 10 minutes left in the half, Landon Donovan surged forward and slipped the ball through to Keane, whose run had lost Opara. The Irish striker juked Jon Busch and then rolled the ball into the open net.

Then, moments later, Mike Magee stuck the dagger in. Sean Franklin played in Donovan down the wing, and the American international centered. Magee one-timed his shot past Busch's grasping fingertips.

The Quakes made it interesting late late in the second half. Former LA forward Alan Gordon came on as a substitute and pulled one back in the 82nd minute with a scrappy volleyed finish.

However, the Galaxy held onto the lead and slid past the 'Quakes.

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