After a thorough loss in May and a shaky-but-glorious victory in June, the Quakes dismantled the L.A. Galaxy in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals at Avaya Stadium 3-2. The Quakes are now two wins away from hoisting their first major trophy since the Supporters’ Shield of 2012.
The Quakes defense blundered early, but held firm to deliver the win for San Jose. A Jelle Van Damme deja-vu goal put the Galaxy up 1-0 three minutes into the match. The goal was nearly identical to the opening goal at Stanford just eight days prior: both occurred in the opening few minutes of the game on a corner which finds an open Van Damme at the far post for the go-ahead goal.
But unlike Stanford, the Quakes did not wait the entire game to seize their opportunities. Quakes forward/captain Chris Wondolowski (wearing #38 in honor of Quakes prospect Matheus Silva, who almost drowned on July 4th) picked up a Tommy Thompson cross at the top of the box and buried a left-footer at 16′ to equalize both sides. The score would hold until half-time.
Leitch’s faith in homegrown midfielder Thompson was rewarded a second time in the second half. Tommy burned Van Damme and Ashley Cole to set up Wondo’s second of the game, a header at 51′. Tommy finished with two shots, two assists, 64 touches, and a 92.3% pass completion rate.
Danny Hoesen put the game away at 62′ after Jahmir Hyka picked Giovani dos Santos to give Hoesen a counter-attack goal and the game-winner.
The Galaxy managed an own-goal after an L.A. shot hit the head of Quakes defensive midfielder Jackson Yueill, which ricocheted off the back foot of Andrew Tarbell and into the net at 84′. Yueill had to be taken out of the game for a possible concussion.
Guardians of the Galaxy
The defensive trio of Kofi Sarkodie, Andres Imperiale, and Flo Jungwirth held the Galaxy to just three shots on target while the defense managed five blocked shots. Jahmir Hyka led the team with five tackles, and managed to create five scoring chances on the attack.
Overall, San Jose had more shots (20-8), more shots on goal (7-3), more chances (13-6), and more desire than the Galaxy on Monday night.
While Chris Wondolowski’s two goals earned him the game’s Man-of-the-Match, Wondo was quick to point out his midfield tandem of Thompson and Yueill should be recognized as the reason for the Quakes’ success. “Those two ran our middle, especially against a tough team in the Galaxy who use the middle really well.” Wondo added that Yueill “did a great job” playing the #6 defensive mid role, and deserved man-of-the-match honors while Tommy Thompson “was everywhere.”
In his previous three matches, Tommy has notched 10 shots, a goal, and two assists. Tommy credits his coaches’ confidence as a reason for his recent successes. “The coaching staff has put a lot of confidence in me and have given me the green light to go at players and really express myself. I’m grateful for that, and it’s paid off so far.”
Quakes head coach Chris Leitch acknowledged the mistakes, but approved of his team’s performance. “Not the best of starts . . . not the best finish in the last three minutes–a little helter-skelter–but the 86+ minutes in between those two three-minute periods were pretty good.”
The Quakes will know their semifinal opponent and match location later this week as six more teams vie for the remaining three semifinal slots. The semifinals are scheduled to take place on August 9, but could be moved up a day if needed.