Being inside a Stanford Stadium, give me a similar feeling to how it felt walking into Levi's Stadium for the first time being on the field. You could sense a different type of energy for the players, even just getting ready for their warm-up scrimmage. Throughout the year being with the earthquakes at home and even for a few games on the road, you’ve been able to really just feel a different type of attitude being displayed on and off the field. For a good amount of the earthquakes players this was a type of homecoming as you had five individuals who were a part of the Stanford Cardinal. It seem like everybody was pretty excited for the upcoming game against the Los Angeles, Galaxy, and they were ready for the next chapter in the longest rivalry within Major League Soccer.
As I was able to walk into the stadium during the sound check on the field, you could feel the sun reflecting off the field as the ambience of game was being created on a hot July 1st. As the fan, starting to enter the tunnels towards the stadium, you could feel the energy was slowly rising, as we were about to see another great matchup between the two teams. With the current standings in the MLS, every single game is important for the San Jose Earthquakes and it couldn’t have gotten even more important than against a rival. The stadium's atmosphere was very interesting. Driving into the grounds, you saw people tailgating all over the places and you saw people from all over coming to witness this game. From once the gates opened, to the moment the ball got placed down, the best way to describe the scenery was that this was the place to be, and this was the party to be at.
Crisitian Espinoza and Riqui Puig were the standouts, during this edition of the California Clasico. It was clear that they were the key players on pitch as both players seemed to be on the ball during big moments of the game. Both players made significant impact in the middle of this game as Espinoza lead his team with his attack and his goal scoring abilities while Puig made a pretty big impact on the middle of the field, and really was an anchor for the defensive side. It appeared that any time Puig had the ball he was cutting through the mid of the field with fast speed, and it has something that has become more apparent in this game play more recently, and as for Crisitian Espionza he was able to break his scoring drought adding another goal to his impressive number this season. He is still a major factor for San Jose, and is a player to be on the lookout for as he heads to represent San Jose at the MLS All-Star game against Europe's Arsenal.
With this game being a rivalry, the game didn't disappoint and of course things did get chippy throughout the game. Six yellow cards were shown throughout the game, and one of the calls even went to VAR review towards the end of regulation. The head coach Greg Vanney of LA Galaxy stated he “didn’t get a chance to see a review of the play, but [based off the situation in play] thought it should have been a red card.” The rivalry lived up to the hype, as it always does, and added another classic to its history even with the game ending in a 2-2 draw. San Jose heads back to Los Angeles to take on LAFC who are currently in a little bit of a stump with players missing action due to international duty, injuries, and rested due to how many games they've played outside of the MLS Regular Season. It has been an interesting MLS season so far which has create a lot of dark horse teams, dramatic fall-offs of some clubs, and clubs maintaining their success. As the year goes on it is clear that with every week the MLS continues to maintain its growth, and surpass it.
More Images Below of Los Angeles Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes
taken by Jose Rocha (Rocha Multimedia) :