On July 1, during a Major League Soccer match at Stanford Stadium, Van Damme scored spectacularly on a set-piece to give his team an early lead, only to watch the San Jose Earthquakes come from behind to secure a 2-1 victory with a game-winner in second-half stoppage time.
San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Tommy Thompson
Tonight it was a different stadium, a different competition, different goal-scorers for the Quakes and not as much late drama - but the sense of déjà vu certainly hung in the air on the warm northern California night as San Jose earned a deserved victory.
Despite both teams being impacted by injuries and CONCACAF Gold Cup call-ups, both coaches sent out strong sides.Galaxy Strike Early
Van Damme had not scored in his MLS career before his powerful volley on July 1, but he did it again to the Quakes tonight, tallying off a set-piece in just the third minute, this time hitting home with his head while the ‘Quakes defense dozed.
Forward Giovani dos Santos, making his first appearance since returning from international duty with Mexico at the FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia, bent in a corner-kick from the left side. Van Damme skied over German defender Florian Jungwirth to power home his header from six yards out and past stunned Earthquakes keeper Andrew Tarbell, who got the nod in place of usual starter David Bingham.
It took San Jose only 13 minutes to level the score and it was no surprise to see Wondolowski’s name up on the scoreboard. Wondolowski wore #38 instead of his usual #8 in tribute to Matheus Silva, his young Brazilian teammate who is recovering from a serious swimming accident he sustained on the Fourth of July in Lake Tahoe.
Wondolowski received a square ball from Tommy Thompson at the top of the penalty area and when Galaxy midfielder Rafael Garcia did not close quickly enough, he smacked a seeing-eye left-footed shot through traffic from 22 yards out that skidded into the lower left corner.
Dos Santos had two good chances in the first half, one coming on a silky chip in the 11th minute that almost floated over Tarbell before he dove backward to push the ball over the bar, and the other after nice solo run in the 40th minute that resulted in a shot blocked by a scrambling defender. But it was the Quakes who looked more likely to get another before the half.
San Jose Earthquakes forward Danny Hoesen
In the 31st minute, Albanian Jahmir Hyka redirected a hard service into the box to send a nifty back heel off the underside of the crossbar at the upper right corner. A few minutes later, Nick Lima hit a screamer from distance that sailed just outside the upper right corner. The lively Hoesen also had a good look at goal in the 43rd minute when he latched onto a ball inside the penalty area on the right side, but he cut his shot weakly outside the left post.
Hyka really should have sent San Jose into the interval with a lead. In the first minute of stoppage time, Lima got around defender Bradley Diallo on the left side and slid a pass on the ground through the six-yard box, finding Hyka at the far post. His first-time shot somehow avoided the sliding Ashley Cole, scrambling goalkeeper Brian Rowe, and the goal - rolling just the wrong side of the left post.
Rowe returned to the net for the Galaxy for the first time since recovering from a groin injury that kept him out of the lineup for about six weeks. In the 50th minute he denied Thompson by standing his ground at the near post to bat away a hard strike after the crafty midfielder danced his way through the defense and fired from a stiff angle on the right side.
Rowe could do nothing about a Wondolowski header just a minute later as Thompson darted into the right side of the penalty area and sent a perfect chip into the middle. Wondolowski found little resistance and was able to snap his header home from seven yards into the center of the goal past the diving Rowe.
Hoesen Adds Finishing Touch
San Jose added a third the 62nd minute after the ball bounced fortuitously out of a tackle in midfield and into the path of the streaking Hoesen, sending him off on a breakaway. The speedy Dutch striker glided into the right side of the penalty area before smashing his uncontested shot past Rowe for what would be the eventual game-winner.
Galaxy head coach Curt Onalfo, playing without two of his top attacking players in Gyasi Zardes (with the U.S. team at the Gold Cup) and Romain Alessandrini (still getting back to full fitness after a leg injury), sent on Raul Mendiola (67th), Jack McInerney (68th) and Ariel Lassiter (82nd) in an attempt to climb back into the game.
San Jose Earthquakes legend Chris Wondolowski
It almost worked as the Galaxy added some drama to the end of the match by pulling a goal back in the 83rd minute on a wacky play. The ball bounced to Lassiter on the right side of the penalty area after a goal-mouth scramble and he struck a hard left-footed shot on goal that would have gone in had it not hit Jackson Yueill in the face. The ball came off Yueill, bounced off the back of Tarbell’s right leg and settled into the net to make it 3-2.
The Galaxy could not manufacture another good chance through the rest of regulation and four minutes of stoppage time, and now the Quakes await their semifinal opponent – Sporting Kansas City or FC Dallas.