Palo Alto, CA (Sports Network) - The San Jose Earthquakes extended their lead
atop the Western Conference on Saturday, claiming a 4-3 win over the Los
Angeles Galaxy in the California Clasico to go four points clear of second-
place Real Salt Lake.
Steven Lenhart opened the scoring early on before the Galaxy hit for three
goals through David Beckham, a Jason Hernandez own goal and Landon Donovan.
San Jose stormed back with three unanswered goals to take all three points as
Victor Bernardez, Sam Cronin and Chris Wondolowski helped the 'Quakes secure
their third straight win.
The Earthquakes (11-3-3) have amassed an MLS-best 36 points through 17 games
this season as they still hold a game in hand over Real Salt Lake. The Galaxy
(6-9-2) have their three-game winning streak snapped, falling to sixth place
in the West on 20 points.
San Jose kicked off the seven-goal thriller by taking the lead inside the
opening seven minutes as Lenhart pounced on a rebound given up by Josh
Saunders and stuffed home the loose ball from close range.
The Galaxy responded with three goals in the span of 10 minutes to pull back
into the driver's seat.
Beckham leveled the score with a patented free kick from just outside the box
in the 31st minute, curling a perfect shot over the wall but just under the
crossbar for his third goal of the season.
San Jose then gifted the lead to the visitors as Hernandez turned a low cross
from Hector Jimenez into his own net in the 36th minute.
The Galaxy capitalized on a defensive miscue five minutes later to go two
goals up. A failed clearance from Hernandez was collected on the right side of
the box and sent back into the center of the penalty area where Donovan was
waiting to slam home the cross.
The 'Quakes were able to pull one back before the break as Bernardez got on
the end of corner kick delivered by Marvin Chavez and fired a one-time effort
The home side came out gunning in the second half and got on even terms less
than two minutes after the restart. Steven Beitashour played a long ball into
the box to find the surging run of Cronin. The midfielder reached the ball on
the slide and slipped a shot past Saunders for his first goal of the season.
San Jose reclaimed the lead for good inside the final half-hour as Wondolowski
provided the killer blow with a brilliant back heel. Major League Soccer's
leading scorer lost his mark in the box to get on the end of corner kick
delivery, flicking his shot past Saunders with an improvisational back heel.
The remainder of the match was end-to-end action with both sides creating a
flurry of scoring opportunities, but the Earthquakes held on to claim the win
in stunning fashion.
San Jose returns to action Tuesday with a trip to Jeld-Wen Field to face the
Portland Timbers, while Los Angeles is off until Wednesday when it welcomes
the Philadelphia Union to The Home Depot Center.