San Jose ousted at home by Los Angeles
Santa Clara, CA – The San Jose Earthquakes' magical season has come to a premature end.
The Supporters' Shield winners were ousted from MLS Cup contention on Wednesday, falling to the Los Angeles Galaxy 3-1 at Buck Shaw Stadium and 3-2 on aggregate.
The reigning champions were led by a two-goal performance from Robbie Keane.
Landon Donovan had a two-assist outing, but it was Mike Magee's goal that turned out to be the series-clincher after Alan Gordon went on to pull one back for the 'Quakes.
San Jose was dealt an early blow when defender Victor Bernardez, who bagged the lone goal in the first leg, needed to be substituted through injury.
Ike Opara entered the match in the 12th minute and Los Angeles took advantage of the retooled backline by scoring nine minutes later.
Keane was afforded time and space through the center of the pitch and the Republic of Ireland international striker made the 'Quakes defense pay, hammering a low shot off the inside of Jon Busch's post and into the back of the net.
The Galaxy doubled their lead on the night through a brilliant counter attack in the 34th minute.
Tommy Meyer's long ball found Donovan on the right flank. The American international took the space in front of him before he and Keane connected on with a perfectly-timed run and a perfectly-weighted pass. The Irishman took one touch to get around Busch and slipped a simple shot into the empty net to give the defending champions a one-goal aggregate lead.
San Jose was left reeling five minutes later when Los Angeles extended its advantage. Sean Franklin released Donovan in space following some fine combination play on the right touchline and the Galaxy captain delivered an inch-perfect ball for Magee to hammer past Busch with a one-time shot.
Marvin Chavez came within inches of pulling one back before the close of the first half, but his free kick in the 42nd minute struck the post before the Galaxy cleared their lines.
San Jose lacked urgency throughout the second half, but the club was woken up when Justin Morrow's shot was guided into the back of the net by Gordon in the 82nd minute.
With the 'Quakes needing just one goal to send the tie into extra time, the Galaxy struggled to keep possession. They nearly paid for their carelessness when Chris Wondolowski played Opara through on goal in stoppage time, but the defender made a hash of the chance and sent his shot over the crossbar with just Josh Saunders to beat.
Los Angeles closed out the match to advance to the Western Conference final where it will face either Seattle Sounders FC or Real Salt Lake.