CARSON, Calif. — The L.A. Galaxy hosted the San Jose Earthquakes in the first edition of the Cali Clasico this season and walked out of StubHub Center with a 1-0 victory.
Playing without forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was suspended for this match, Ola Kamara took the field in his preferred position as the lone striker. Defender and team captain Ashley Cole started the match on the bench, despite missing Monday’s game due to yellow card accumulation, giving midfielder Jonathan Dos Santos the opportunity to wear the captain’s armband.
Mexican national team head coach Juan Carlos Osorio was among the announced 23,118 fans in attendance, keeping an eye on Dos Santos and his brother. Giovani Dos Santos is still recovering from a hamstring injury, so remained on the bench until the 75th minute.
LAFC also has a home match this weekend, so Osorio could attend that one as well to watch another Mexican national team player, forward Carlos Vela.
The first half was scoreless and relatively slow-paced for a Cali Clasico. Both sides are lower in the Western Conference standings this season than in years past. There were no shots on goal for either side in the first 45 minutes and a total of thirteen combined fouls. Galaxy midfielders sent several impressive crosses into the box during the first twenty minutes, but no one was able to put the chances away.
Carlos Vela laughs as he views a display on a teammate's personal device during the introduction of players and coaches at the first training camp of the Los Angeles Football Club MLS soccer team on the campus of UCLA in Los Angeles, Monday, Jan. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
Midfielder Ema Boateng subbed on at halftime for Chris Pontius, and the dynamic of the game shifted. Boateng is the fastest player on the Galaxy roster, and he was able to add the spark the team was sorely missing in the first half.
In the 82nd minute, Boateng worked his way through several San Jose midfielders to pass the ball to Romain Alessandrini, who scored from well outside the 18-yard-box to put the Galaxy up 1-0.
The Galaxy held that lead to close out their Cali Clasico victory. Head coach Sigi Schmid said in the post game conference that the team’s focus was on the shutout, and that the goal would eventually come.
“We’ve gutted out the last two games,” Schmid said. “But, the main thing is that we’ve played to zero, and as we said at half-time we said look just keep it a zero, we’ll find a goal. This is a team that will somehow find a goal. And, we found a goal. So, what I’m happy with is that I think defensively over the last two games, you know we’ve bent a little bit, but we’ve been stronger. Maybe luck is turning our direction a little bit.”
Full video of the Schmid post game press conference is below.
Looking ahead, the Galaxy will host FC Dallas Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. ET.