GALAXY POLL
Who was the LA Galaxy Man of the Match vs. San Jose?
  • D. Beckham
  • L. Donovan
  • C. Klein
  • J. Cronin
  • M. Randolph
04/04/2008 01:05AM

Beckham, Donovan lead LA to win over Quakes

Galaxy duo breaks out with best game together
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David Beckham scored his first MLS goal on Thursday, in Galaxy's 2-0 win over San Jose.
David Beckham scored his first MLS goal on Thursday, in Galaxy's 2-0 win over San Jose. (AP)

CARSON, Calif. -- David Beckham and Landon Donovan put their stamp on the match, teaming for a pair of goals, and the Los Angeles Galaxy defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 2-0 at The Home Depot Center on MLS Primetime Thursday in renewing the California rivalry that had taken a two-year hiatus.

Beckham and Donovan each scored a goal -- set up by the other -- as the Galaxy rebounded from a heavy defeat in Colorado in their home opener. It was the first game for the expansion Earthquakes since 2005, after the original club relocated to Houston, and it came in what used to be known as the "California Clasico."

In the initial minutes of the game, San Jose looked dangerous, and the Quakes looked to have taken a dream lead after just two minutes. Ryan Cochrane found the back of the net off a Ronnie O'Brien free kick, but the goal was ruled out when the linesman's flag went up for offside.

But Los Angeles quickly took control of the match, and dominated possession through the opening half hour. In the fifth minute the Galaxy won a corner kick. Beckham sent in one of his signature crosses, finding the head of Alan Gordon, but he couldn't quite elevate enough to direct his header under the crossbar.

Los Angeles kept the pressure on the San Jose goal. A minute later rookie Ely Allen made a nice run into the box, beating a defender off the dribble before firing a low shot on target that forced a point-blank save out of Joe Cannon.

All the pressure paid off in the eighth minute when Beckham opened the scoring. The play developed out of the midfield when Donovan picked off a weak pass and found Beckham streaking down the right flank. Donovan's through pass but Beckham in alone on Cannon, and from 18 yards out the English international slotted a shot underneath the charging 'keeper and into the back of the net for his first Major League Soccer goal.

San Jose recorded their first shot in the 12th minute. Shea Salinas collected a ball on the left flank and made a great individual run, cutting into the center of the park before firing from 22 yards out. The effort sailed high over the bar however, causing no problems for Steve Cronin in the Galaxy goal.

The Galaxy quickly went back on the attack two minutes later. Allen drove a cross into the area for Gordon and he sent a glancing header toward the back post, but his effort skipped just wide. Moments later Donovan drifted wide left and tried to pick out Gordon in the area, but his cross turned into a shot, forcing Cannon to make a save at the near post.

San Jose tried fighting their way back into it in the 22nd minute from a corner kick. Ramiro Corrales played the ball into the center, and Cronin came out to try and punch the ball clear. Salinas collected the ball at the top of the box, putting the ball back in the mixer. In the ensuing melee, Brandon McDonald cleared the ball from danger just in front of Ryan Cochrane with an empty net gaping.

In the 37th minute, the Galaxy doubled their lead, Beckham and Donovan once again combining on the goal. This time it was Beckham in the role of provider, lobbing a ball over the San Jose backline for Donovan to run onto. Donovan outraced the defense and beat Joe Cannon to the ball, looping a shot over the Quakes 'keeper and into the net.

The Galaxy came close just before halftime, and again it was Beckham getting involved in the action. Mike Randolph won a free kick at the corner of the area, setting Beckham up for a free kick opportunity. The Englishman whipped a ball to the back post where Alvaro Pires banged a sharp header just wide of the post.

San Jose came out to start the second half with a bit more bite, and forced a save out of Cronin less than two minutes in. Kei Kamara received the ball with his back to the goal, turned and shot to the back post from 16 yards out. Cronin got down quickly though, and left no rebound on the shot.

The pace of the game began to slow, the Quakes holding the majority of possession but the Galaxy content to soak it up. Then in the 64th minute, LA nearly struck again on the counter. Donovan led the charge, carrying the ball right down the throat of the San Jose defense, finally laying the ball off to Gordon. Gordon took a touch into the area and shot low, but right into the feet of Cannon.

Gordon had a couple more chances as the match wound down. Beckham sprung Donovan on the left and the U.S. international tried to find Gordon in the center, but he wasn't able to fight past a San Jose defender. Then in the 83rd minute Mike Randolph crossed the ball in to the area and Gordon managed to get a weak header as he was leaning back, but his effort fluttered wide of the mark.

With the game in hand, Ruud Gullit began going to his bench to kill off the game and preserve the shutout. The LA goal was never challenged again, and the Galaxy managed to get their season back on the right track in writing a new chapter in an old rivalry.

Greg Daurio is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.

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