Earthquakes fall to Galaxy in home opener

San Jose – If Saturday night’s 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy says anything about the state of the San Jose Earthquakes two matches into the 2024 campaign, is that they simply need to do better, and their manager agrees.

“We have to do a better job,” Earthquakes manager Luchi Gonzalez said after San Jose’s loss in the Cali Clasico Saturday night’s home opener. 

L.A’s Joseph Painstil opened the scoring for the Galaxy in the 18th minute, taking a cutback pass from Mark Delgado and firing it into the far post past Earthquakes keeper Daniel. The Galaxy beat the Earthquakes backline on a fast counter in the 43 minutes, as Paintsil raced down the right wing, following a Quakes turnover. San Jose defender Tanner Beason, then crossing over to a wide-open Devan Jovelic to take a 2-0 lead just before the break. 

The Galaxy picked up where they left off just three minutes into the second half as Riqui Puig gave them a 3-0 lead.

The Earthquakes pulled one goal back in the 70th minute when former Galaxy player Preston Judd scored on a ball that fell in front of him and the net to cut the L.A. led to 3-1.

“It was against my former team, so there’s a lot of emotions,” Judd said. “When I got on the field, I was ready to work. It was a tough situation, but I had to do my best in that moment.”

The loss was even more disappointing for Gonzalez and the team considering how they lost at the last minute a week ago in Dallas. He looked for a response from his defensive backline, his team, and there was none to be found.

“I thought we were very prepared,” he said. “Maybe over prepared, maybe gave too much respect. The reflection is that the better way to respect it is to be more aggressive and more physical (against L.A.’s attack). That’s the difference, the physicality, and the intensity. The aggressiveness is more important than any tactics you can have.”

Just two games into the season, Gonzalez and the Earthquakes are not pushing the panic button just yet, especially with 32 league matches to go. Gonzalez says that on a night like Saturday’s loss, that’s the bright side.

“There’s a lot of points still to play for and that’s the only positive from tonight, honestly,” he said. 

There also could be some reinforcements coming to the team soon. Gonzalez mentioned during his press conference that the team does have an open Designated Player spot and a designated U22-Initiative spot open, and they are looking at offensive options.

One of those Designated Player options could be the heavily rumored upcoming signing of 35-year-old Mexican international Carlos Vela, formerly with LAFC where he won MLS Cup with in 2022. Gonzalez did not mention any potential signing by name during his post-game press conference.

Notes – The Earthquakes will look to bounce back and get into the win column next Saturday night against the Vancouver Whitecaps (0-0-1, 1 points) in San Jose (7:30 pm PT Apple TV).

Photo by SJE/Twitter

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