Categorized | Discussion, MLS, MLS Match Reports

Galaxy clinch Playoff Spot with Draw against Quakes

Posted on 21 October 2013 by iyeo

Playoff implications were certainly on the line in Sunday’s California Clasico match between the Los Angeles Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes.

The Galaxy needed a win or a draw to clinch a playoff spot, though a win would have put them in a tie with the Portland Timbers for first place in the Western Conference. The Quakes needed the same result to prolong its chances of making the playoffs.

When 90 minutes were played, the end result was more to the Galaxy’s liking, though not as much as they had hoped. The Galaxy got a big performance from keeper Jaime Penedo, as he made several key saves in the Galaxy’s 0-0 draw with the Quakes at StubHub Center.

“A hard fought game, just like a playoff atmosphere,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. “San Jose played a good game, the kind of game we thought they would play and in the end, it’s probably a fair result.”

The draw assures the Galaxy (15-11-7, 52 points) of its fifth straight playoff appearance, though it missed out on a chance of first place in the West and ended any hopes of winning the Supporters Shield. The Quakes meanwhile saw its playoff chances extended another week, though it will need to not only defeat FC Dallas on Saturday and hope the Vancouver Whitecaps over the Colorado Rapids the following day. The Quakes must also find the back net as much as it can to better its playoff chances as well.

“We’ll approach the (Dallas) game trying to score as much as possible, but we’ve put ourselves in a really difficult position,” Earthquakes head coach Mark Watson said.

San Jose (13-11-9, 48 points) had the better of the chances in the first half. The Quakes first shot at goal came in the 13th minute, as Shea Salinas sent in a free kick into the 18-yard box and Center Back Clarence Goodson headed a dangerous ball that just missed the far post.

The Quakes continued to be aggressive around the Galaxy goal. San Jose won a corner in the 27th minute; Salinas sent in the corner, Lenhart headed a shot on goal, but was parried away by keeper Jaime Penedo. Penedo came up huge again for LA in the 41st minute, as Lenhart crossed a ball into the box, Wondolowski headed a shot on goal but was denied by Penedo. Salinas trailed the play and attempted a rebound shot, but was blocked by Omar Gonzalez.

The Quakes kept up its aggressiveness in the second half. Salinas led a Quakes break from the left side in the 63rd minute, then crossed a ball into the Galaxy penalty area for Lenhart, but a sliding tackle by Center Back Kofi Opare allowed Penedo to scoop up the ball.

“We knew what was at stake, but the game took another turn,” Penedo said. “It was important to protect our game and just try to get the tie because there’s a bigger goal at play here.”

The Galaxy finally started to creates chances of its own. LA’s first threat came in the 83rd minute, as Robbie Rogers crossed a ball into the penalty area, Keane dummied a ball, which bounced around inside the box before Landon Donovan sent a header to Juninho. The Midfielder sent a long-range blast towards the framework, but Quakes keeper Jon Busch got his hands on the ball well enough to parry the ball over the end line. The Galaxy had one last chance at the death to steal the three points; Gyasi Zardes had the ball in the box and made his move, but was taken down in the box by Walter Martinez. Zardes and the Galaxy pleaded for a penalty call, but referee Baldomerro Toledo instead let play continue and the final whistle blew.

“We had a few chances towards the end, and I thought that was a penalty for Gyasi,” Rogers said.

Both teams will have CONCACAF Champions League matches before its respective regular season finales the following weekend. The Quakes will host Olimpia on Wednesday while the Galaxy travel to El Salvador to face Isidro Metapan the following day.

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