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.