Galaxy’s Paintsil Shines in Cali Clásico Debut

Henry Tran - The Sporting Tribune
Joseph Paintsil starting in his first Cali Clásico, scored his first MLS goal and added an assist, all before halftime.

When Joseph Pantsil was subbed off just after the 60th minute, he had a confused look on his face and he shrugged looking in the direction of the bench, as if his team wasn’t ahead by three scores at that point.

In under an hour, Paintsil became the fourth player in club history to record a goal and an assist in their Cali Clásico debut during the Galaxy’s 3-1 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes, Paintsil had two very special motivators heading into the match.

“I’m really happy that I scored my first goal, it really means a lot to me, Paintsil said afterwards. “My sister and my mom told me I would score today and just keep faith, and the moment just happened, I think about them. So I want to say a big thank you to them and the fans.”

Mark Delgado, in the lineup after getting his second yellow rescinded earlier this week, assisted Paintsil as his shot curled around the keeper to open his MLS scoring account in front of the opposing fans at PayPal Park.

Pantsil assisted the second goal of the night after a textbook counterattack finished with him placing the ball perfectly for Joveljic to put LA ahead 2-0 before the break.

Riqui Puig was the last G on the scoreboard Saturday. Diego Fagúndez beat his defender down the flank before dishing the ball to Joveljíc, who pulled back and hit Puig in stride for the finish in the box.

Fagúndez started on the wing along side Paintsil, Puig and Joveljic in the attack, while young designated player Gabriel Pec came on as a sub in the second half. Fagúndez’s play continues to show why he’s in the starting XI, leading clinical performance on offense.

Former Galaxy player Preston Judd netted the lone goal for the Earthquakes with a well-earned finish and a missed punch by McCarthy in the 70th minute against his former club.

Through two match days, Vanney has high hopes for his club going forward.

“I’m really proud of the group. I look forward because I see what this team is capable of even on a night like tonight, and knowing the guys are still coming together and getting healthy,” Vanney said. “I really am excited about the group we have.”

Paintsil left with a warning to the rest of the league.

“If we keep playing like this, we are really going to kill a lot of clubs,” Paintsil said. “Trust me.”

Next, the Galaxy will hit the road again, this time to take on Nashville SC, Sunday, March 10 at noon.