Wondo's winner gives Quakes 4-3 comeback win over Galaxy


Wondo's winner gives Quakes 4-3 comeback win over Galaxy


STANFORD -- An exciting back-and-forth game between the San Jose Earthquakes and Los Angeles Galaxy at sold-out Stanford Stadium finished with the Quakes victorious over their Southern California rivals by a score of 4-3. The fireworks on the field didnt finish until Chris Wondolowskis acrobatic back-heeled match winner in the 61st minute.

After taking a 1-0 lead through an early Steven Lenhart goal, the Earthquakes surrendered three straight to the Galaxy, with the most impressive a trademark free kick goal from David Beckham. San Jose stormed back to draw level with goals from Victor Bernardez and Sam Cronin either side of halftime, setting up Wondolowskis winner.

The Earthquakes, for the second time this season, defeated the Galaxy after falling behind by two goals. The 4-3 victory keeps San Jose at the top of the MLS standings at the halfway point in their season.

The Earthquakes struck first, as in the 7th minute, Marvin Chavez cut a ball back across the top of the Galaxy penalty area and struck a knuckling shot that goalkeeper Josh Saunders could only parry away. The loose ball in the six yard box was quickly pounced on by Lenhart and tapped into the open goal to put the Quakes up 1-0.

The Galaxy equalized in the 31st minute from a trademark free kick from Beckham. Taken just outside the area, Beckham curled the ball over the Earthquakes defensive wall and into the upper 90 to bring Los Angeles level.

The visitors then scored the next two goals courtesy of some horror defending by the Earthquakes. In the 36th minute, a diagonal ball from Mike Magee to Hector Jimenez left the Galaxy midfielder with an open goal to shoot at. Quakes defender Jason Hernandez raced back in an attempt to clear the ball, but instead deflected it into the net for an own-goal. The Galaxy scored again in the 41st minute through Donovan, and again Hernandez was to blame. His ill-advised back-pass to goalkeeper Jon Busch was intercepted by Magee, sent outside to Jimenez, and squared back into the area for Donovan to finish and put Los Angeles up 3-1.

The Earthquakes kept possession from the restart and were finally rewarded for their efforts in the 44th minute, when a through-ball from Steven Beitashour found Wondolowski driving into the area. The ball tackled out for a corner kick, which Chavez lined up from deep in the right corner. His kick into the area was met by defender Bernardez and kicked into the back of the net to bring the Earthquakes within a goal of the Galaxy.

The second half started brightly for the Earthquakes, as in the 47th minute, Beitashour found space just inside the center line and sent a long ball toward the top of the Galaxy area. Lenhart drew a defender close and dummied the ball for Cronin to run onto with only Saunders to beat. He slotted the ball past the Los Angeles keeper to bring the score to 3-3.

The Earthquakes regained the lead in the 61st minute when a corner kick from Chavez was driven low and flicked into the Galaxy six-yard box by Ramiro Corrales. Who else but Wondolowski was there to meet the ball, and with while facing away from goal, back-heeled a shot past Saunders for his 14th goal of the MLS season.

The Galaxy put together a spirited effort to get back into the game, but second half substitute goalkeeper David Bingham kept the home side ahead. In the 74th minute, with Beckham charging into the area and the ball at his feet, he poked a ball toward goal that Bingham turned around the post. The Galaxy would get no closer to equalizing over the last quarter hour of the match.

San Jose heads on the road for a pair of league games next week, first at the Portland Timbers on Tuesday and second at FC Dallas on Saturday.

Dempsey hat trick lifts US over Honduras in statement win


Dempsey hat trick lifts US over Honduras in statement win


SAN JOSE — Bruce Arena's return as U.S. coach reignited American confidence, and his players responded with an emphatic rebound in World Cup qualifying.

Clint Dempsey returned from an irregular heartbeat to score his second international hat trick, 18-year-old phenom Christian Pulisic had one goal and set up three others, and the U.S. routed Honduras 6-0 Friday night to get right back in contention for an eighth straight World Cup berth.

Surprise starter Sebastian Lletget got his first international goal in the fifth minute after Pulisic's shot deflected off the goalkeeper, Michael Bradley doubled the lead in the 27th and Dempsey scored off Pulisic's perfectly weighted chip in the 32nd.

Finding room to maneuver in a central midfield role, Pulisic made it 4-0 just 12 seconds into the second half with his fourth international goal, Dempsey rounded the keeper to score following a Pulisic feed in the 49th, and Dempsey got another on a 23-yard free kick in the 54th. With 55 international goals, Dempsey moved within two of Landon Donovan's American record.

In its first competitive match since Arena replaced Jurgen Klinsmann, the U.S. moved from last to fourth in the final round of the North and Central American and Caribbean region, tied at three points with Honduras but ahead on goal difference, Mexico leads with seven points, followed by Costa Rica with six and Panama with four.

The top three nations qualify for next year's tournament in Russia, and the fourth-place nation advances to a playoff. With a victory at Panama on Tuesday, the Americans could move into the top three.

The U.S. had never before won a hexagonal game by more than three goals.

And oh how the American Outlaws and others among the lively home crowd loved every second of this long-awaited showing, chanting "Michael Bradley!" and "Demp-sey! Demp-sey!" through the Bay Area rain and cool March air.

Then, it was "Bruce Arena! Bruce Arena!"

Gloom descended upon the Americans in November when they opened the hexagonal with a 2-1 home loss to Mexico and a 4-0 wipeout at Costa Rica. The defeats caused the U.S. Soccer Federation to fire Klinsmann, who had coached the Americans since 2011, and bring back Arena, who lead the team from 1998-2006.

Dempsey, 34 and hoping to reach a fourth World Cup, was sidelined from August until this month by an irregular heartbeat and likely was starting only because of injuries to Bobby Wood and Jordan Morris. Tim Howard, the Americans' 38-year-old goalkeeper, got the shutout after returning only two weeks ago from a leg injury sustained in the loss to Mexico.

Geoff Cameron, back from a knee strain that had sidelined him for fourth months, was shifted to right back from central defense because of injuries to others, and Jorge Villafana was inserted on the left.

But there were yet more injuries. Lletget hurt his left ankle on Ever Alvarado's tackle and was replaced in the 18th minute, and defender John Brooks was stretchered off the field, hand over his face, in the 69th due to dehydration.

From the opening whistle, the U.S. played more aggressively than in the latter years of Klinsmann's reign. Arena revamped the midfield, giving a prominent role to Pulisic, who last week became the youngest American to score in the Champions League. He inserted Lletget and Nagbe, who were largely overlooked by Klinsmann last year, on the flanks.

The U.S. went ahead when Jozy Altidore picked up a loose ball and on his second try poked the ball ahead to Pulisic. His left-footed shot that went off goalkeeper Donis Escobar, and Lletget tapped in the ball with his right foot from 2 yards.

Bradley, given his debut by Arena in 2006, doubled the lead when he took a pass from Alejando Bedoya, cut to his left, took four touches and cut the ball back to beat Escobar with one-hopper from about 25 yards.

Showing poise beyond his years, Pulisic created the third goal when he lofted a pass to Dempsey, who allowed the ball of bounce off his right shoulder. Dempsey held off Henry Figueroa and while falling scored with his right foot from 8 yards.

What they’re saying: Let’s go USMNT against Honduras


What they’re saying: Let’s go USMNT against Honduras

The United States Men's National Team faces a critical match against Honduras. 

With an 0-2 record, and currently in last place, the USMNT is on the brink of not qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

Motivation across the sports world is pouring in for the Red, White and Blue.