The Los Angeles Galaxy fended off a barrage of San Jose Earthquakes attacks to hold a 0-0 draw to clinch a playoff berth and secure their spot in the MLS playoffs.
Both teams have much to gain with a win at the StubHub Center, but San Jose would have more to lose than just a match. If they dropped the game to Los Angeles, the Quakes are eliminated from the playoffs. The Galaxy clinch a playoff berth with at least a draw and could rocket themselves to first place with a win. With this being the second to last game of the season, both teams must leave it all on the pitch to secure their spot to the postseason.
The first 20minutes of the match was controlled in the favor of the Quakes. A tight connection with the backline and the midfield players kept possession for San Jose and helped create set-piece enticing plays. The Nor Cal team was rewarded an early corner kick and a goal-worthy attempt from a quick free-kick, but nothing on frame.
The best chances of the game are credited to the Quakes. Though Los Angeles picked up some of the ball possession, Jaime Penedo was tested more than Quakes keeper Jon Busch. A cross from Steven Lenhart found Chris Wondolowski who headed it on goal, but it would be parried away by the Panamanian keeper.
A low cross on the left side of the pitch by the Quakes targeted a charging Lenhart, but rookie Kofi Opare caused the Quakes forward to fumble under him, and Penedo again would dive to capture another ball in the box.
Omar Gonzalez left the pitch in the 72nd minute for Leonardo. The American centerback had been dealing with a left hip-flexor injury and might have aggravated it once again.
Marcelo Sarvas had the Galaxy’s closest chance in the 82nd minute when a ball crossed by late substitute Robbie Rogers was flicked on Robbie Keane, headed down by Landon Donovan and left for the Brazilian to strike, but Busch would come to San Jose’s rescue with a well-time save of his own.
The Galaxy led the last attack of the game. Gyassi Zardes charged the left flank and went down in the box, but referee Baldomero Toledo old the Galaxy winger to get up to his feet just before blowing the final whistle.
Galaxy will stay in third place in the Western Conference standings and clinch a spot in the playoffs with one game left to decide what seed they will enter in. Though San Jose is not officially eliminated, their goal differential makes it a near-impossible task to accomplish. Galaxy will travel to Seattle for this last game of the season on October 27th to face the Seattle Sounders.
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