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San Jose Earthquakes Rattle LAFC in San Francisco

Bouanga vs Quakers goalie. Photo by LAFC
Bouanga vs Quakers goalie. Photo by LAFC

The San Jose Earthquakes captured their second win of the season in a dominant performance against LAFC at Levi’s Stadium.

“It was a really great experience to play a huge game like this in a huge stadium,” said Amahl Pellegrino. “The environment was amazing.”

“We haven’t been so good this season but derby games are always different. It was a great response and it was cool to play this game. It was an important three points.”

Kai jumps high for a header. Photo by LAFC
Kai jumps high for a header. Photo by LAFC

Coming into the match Los Angeles rode a five-game unbeaten streak, however that all changed within the first five minutes of the game, Rodrigues took advantage of a corner kick and headed the ball into the back of the net.

Just two minutes later, LAFC missed the equalizer and could not capitalize on the ‘Quakes defensive mistake, the reigning Golden Boot winner Dénis Bouanga was denied inside the box.

Despite the efforts, the San Jose offense challenged Los Angeles’ defense throughout the first half and carried the 1-0 lead into the half. The Earthquakes rode the momentum into the second half and quickly doubled their lead.

In the 55th minute, Cristian Espinoza curled a perfect through ball to Pellegrino and positioned the forward in a one on one against goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and fired the ball past the French goalkeeper for a two goal lead.

“I know Cristian [Espinoza] maybe has one of the best right feet in the league. We always talk about that,” said Pelligrino. “I like to go behind the defenders to attack that space and when I saw he got the ball I just hoped he would swing it and he did it. It was a fantastic ball and he made my job easy.”

Just four minutes later, San Jose added to their lead off an own goal by Bouanga in a corner kick. Despite being 3-0, LAFC continued to try and claw their way back into the match, Cristian Olivera netted a goal in the 69th minute. The momentum changed and was in LAFC’s favor but could not capitalize on finishing.

Ultimately, the clock was in San Jose’s favor and LAFC did not have enough time to engineer a comeback.

LAFC on the road

LAFC fans walking in the rain... Photo by LAFC
LAFC fans walking in the rain... Photo by LAFC

Through 11 games in the 2024 season, the Black&Gold are winless on the road. They seem to have an identity crisis when they play away from BMO Stadium. Their road record 0-4-1, is a serious issue they have to address sooner rather than later if they want to make a push for the playoffs. Despite their road issues, LAFC is undefeated at home boasting a 4-0-2 record.

"On the road this year I think this sums it up kind of for us,” said LAFC head coach Steve Cherundolo. “On the road we seem to find ways to beat ourselves, not so much that teams are beating us but we're beating ourselves and we did that again tonight so that needs to be corrected."

"The good thing and the bad thing about this league is it's built on parity. Even though teams are maybe in last place there isn't a whole lot of difference in quality between teams in this league. Anybody can beat anybody in any game."

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