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San Jose Upsets LAFC with 2-1 Stoppage Time Winner

The San Jose Earthquakes, currently the last place team in the MLS Western Conference, pulled off a shock victory against the former Supporters' Shield darlings, LAFC, on Sunday night at the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles.

The match was part of the newly released, jam-packed MLS 2020 schedule, which had both teams playing games just four days ago. With San Jose posting multi-goal losses (their last two games they lost 5-0 and 6-1), LAFC were a massive favorite going in. But the MLS is full of upsets, and this match was one of the best examples. LAFC have been on a rollercoaster of a season, with the early injury of their lead scorer and captain Carlos Vela, and a starting lineup that seems to be still in beta phase. Facing growing criticism and floating mid-table, LAFC needed to post what was expected to be an easy three points.

From the get-go, LAFC struggled to connect, making basic errors and foundling under moderate pressure. Despite out-possessing their northern neighbors, LAFC only had two shots on target in the first half. One would expect the former playoff team to be walking around the Earthquakes like cones. Instead, LAFC gave San Jose the confidence to get a few close looks at goal in the first half, which even the visitors seemed surprised by.

LAFC's positioning and off-the-ball movement often looked half-hearted and half-baked, and time and again they were unable to convert their attacking plays—perhaps a sign of fatigue from the odd and demanding corona schedule. But a credit also should be given to San Jose, whose unconventional 4-1-4-1 formation seemed to work out defensively, at least in this match.

The Black & Gold finally got on the board in the 45th minute, with a Brian Rodriguez, Eddie Segura, Bradley Wright-Phillips combo, finished by midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye.

Come second half, LAFC players looked content to waste time with only a single-goal lead. Their lax disposition and inability to notch a second goal would come back to haunt them in the 80th minute, when San Jose's Shea Salinas handily beat LAFC centerback Dejan Jakovic, to finish a close-range banger.

The night looked destined for a tie (already a bad result for LAFC) when Earthquakes' Argentinian DP Cristian Espinoza beats three LAFC defenders and finds Jackson Yueill, who finishes past Pablo Sisniega and puts San Jose up 2-1 in stoppage time.

In their last game, LAFC beat Vancouver 6-0, but lost 3-0 in the game prior to that to the Seattle Sounders. Considering all extenuating factors, like a brutal travel schedule that had LAFC fly to Seattle on the same day of their match, it’s no secret the team has struggled with consistency. Now having dropped to 7th place on the table, the club will no doubt be asking some tough questions and looking hard at the upcoming August 12 transfer window.

Up Next:

The San Jose Earthquakes play LA Galaxy on 10/3 at 7:30p in San Jose, CA.

LAFC play Real Salt Lake on 10/3 at 6:30p in Sandy, Utah.

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