SAN JOSE 2 – LAFC 1
MLS Regular Season – Game #14
Sept 27, 2020
The San Jose Earthquakes used two late goals to storm back from a 1-0 deficit and defeat LAFC on Sunday night at Banc of California Stadium. It was the first win ever for the Earthquakes over LAFC and the first win for San Jose in their last nine games.
With only nine games remaining in this abbreviated and strange MLS regular season, there was no way around this one.
‘It’s a bad loss,” LAFC head coach Bob Bradley said.
LAFC started the match off strong, dominating play and threatening to score numerous times before Mark Anthony Kaye slammed in his 3rd goal of the season in the 45th minute just before halftime.
Despite continuing to own the run of play to start the second half, the Black & Gold could not find a second goal, and the Earthquakes slowly chipped away, turning the momentum of the match with a goal from Shea Salinas in the 80th minute and then slamming in the shocking game-winner in the 94th minute.
“We give San Jose credit,” Bradley said. “They have gone through a tough stretch and tonight at the end they fought hard. But we still look at only ourselves for our inability to close the game out.”
Through the first 75 minutes of action on Sunday against the Earthquakes, it was all LAFC. The Black & Gold was able to control the ball and the pace of play, breaking down San Jose’s defense to provide numerous scoring opportunities. But they were not able to capitalize on the chances, and when Brian Rodriguez fired a close-range shot into San Jose goalkeeper with 10 minutes to play, the momentum of the match totally shifted away.
“San Jose is always a tough team with the way they play,” LAFC midfielder Mark Anthony Kaye said. “They make it a very difficult game that requires you to push really hard to try and pick up second balls and find some space for yourself.”
Moments later, the Earthquakes Shea Salinas received a pass just past midfield and dashed with the ball to the top of the 18-yard box and firing home a goal - turning what could have been a 2-0 LAFC lead into a tie game.
“As we move on in the second half, we have some advantages to get the second goal,” Bradley said. “We don’t handle them well.”
Bradley and the team talked at halftime how important a second goal would be to help end any chances of a San Jose comeback, but despite numerous opportunities, including a Brian Rodriguez goal called back for off-sides, they were not able to convert.
“We talked quickly about our ability to finish chances and get that second goal,” Bradley said. “The ability at the end to stay focused and make the plays that matter.”
LETTING OURSELVES DOWN
Both Bob Bradley and Mark Anthony Kaye said it after the game: LAFC let themselves down with the late loss to the Earthquakes.
“We lost this game,” Kaye said. “It’s as simple as that. Our standard is very high and we let ourselves down today.”
It was the little mistakes that cost LAFC in the final 15 minutes of the match.
“In the final moments when we just need to be able to defend certain situations better,” Bradley said. “These are bad errors and it's a day where I don’t think we have enough guys that play well. The ability to just finish a game, even if it’s not your best day….We let ourselves down. It’s a bad loss.”
LAFC defender Eddie Segura also was feeling the effects of the collapse.
“Obviously we are upset with the result, losing at home,” Segura said. “We must work harder and really take a look at the mistakes and improve. That’s the only way to move on from this.”
And while the Black & Gold gave San Jose credit for rebounding from a difficult stretch of losses for a big win, in the end, the opportunity to gain another three points was there for the taking.
“We still look only at ourselves,” Bradley said. “For our inability to close the game out or to deal with some moments late that caused us to give up two goals.”
FULL WEEK TO GET ON TRACK
After a brutal stretch with seven games in 25 days throughout September, LAFC will now enjoy a full week off in between matches. It will be the team's first full week without a mid-week match in nearly a month.
“It will be nice to get some days off, but everything stays the same,” Kaye said. “We have to continue to work hard at the training ground and try to get better at the things we work on every day. We can’t just abandon ship or think that we need to change things. This is a challenging year and we need to be up to the challenge. We have to keep pushing through.”
Segura is focused on what LAFC can improve with the time to train.
“Teams go through bad stretches,” Segura said. “We just need to fix the mistakes and focus on the little details that aren’t working for us right now. We are aware things aren’t going our way right now, but we’ll continue to give it our all.”