Galaxy hold off Earthquakes in 100th Cali Clásico

Henry Tran / The Sporting Tribune
Joseph Paintsil scored against San Jose for the second time in as many meetings to lift the Galaxy over the Earthquakes, 4-3, in the 100th Cali Clásico.

CARSON, Calif. — The Galaxy came away with a 4-3 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes in the 100th edition of the Cali Clasico rivalry on Sunday.

The Galaxy led by as many as three goals in the first half, but the Earthquakes did not make it easy for their fiercest rivals. Galaxy coach Greg Vanney knows no lead is safe in MLS.

”Each time we got ahead by three goals and you think, ‘OK, we’re going to lock this thing down,'” Vanney said. “We gave the goal back within a couple of minutes.

“We need to be more mature with some of our decisions throughout the course of the game.” 

The Galaxy held off the Earthquakes’ comeback efforts and earned three points, remaining atop the Western Conference with 18 points.

”I thought we had pretty good control of the game through a good stretch and that’s the way we need to see out the rest of the game and not let it get there,” Vanney said. “But there’s some good moments.”

LA came away with the victory despite making some last minute changes to the lineup. Vanney said Miki Yamane picked up a bone bruise during training and Mauricio Cuevas came down with an illness days leading up to the match.

Edwin Cerrillo started in place of Yamane, his second time filling in a place in the backline, a spot he’s comfortable in despite the circumstances.

“I don’t want to take anything away from from [Mauricio] Cuevas. He’s been training really well behind behind Miki [Yamane] and it’s unfortunate that he got sick at the time that he did. But someone needed to step up,” Cerrillo said afterwards. ”I felt comfortable in my role, I played how I needed to play and let the other guys do their thing.”

Gabriel Pec opened the scoring on a breakaway shot that skidded past the goalkeeper. Moments later, the Galaxy added a second goal off a penalty kick by Joseph Paintsil to the bottom right corner of the net.

Converting penalties has been an issue for the Galaxy dating back to last season, but Paintsil wasn’t phased by that when he chose to take the kick.

“I’m always comfortable because this is not something new for me,” he said. “I’m always gonna have confidence, especially in a penalty shootout. It’s always a 50-50.”

Paintsil sent a corner kick to Maya Yoshida, whose header found the back of the net and extended LA’s lead 30 minutes into the match.

The Earthquakes answered with a goal by Rodrigues before Riqui Puig’s scored his fourth goal of the season in second half and putting the Galaxy ahead 4-1.

The Earthquakes responded with a goal off a Benjamin Kikanovic header and Jeremy Ebobisse converted a penalty kick that brought San Jose within, 4-3.

The Galaxy held on losing Eriq Zavaleta to a red card and playing the final 20 minutes with 10 players.

The Galaxy next visit Austin FC on 10:45 a.m. Saturday. Puig is hoping for more definitive performances going forward.

“I want to be clear, I am really happy we won, got three points and we are in top of the league,” Puig “But I think if we want to win in the MLS, I think that we need to be more focused.”