Late Bernardez blast helps Earthquakes beat Galaxy in West semifinal opener

Late Bernardez blast helps Earthquakes beat Galaxy in West semifinal opener

CARSON, CALIF— Victor Bernardez was the hero for the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday night, scoring on a long-range free kick to give the visitors a 1-0 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy at Home Depot Center on Sunday night.

“It just shows the spirit of the team,” Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop said after the win. “For an away performance with a pretty banged up squad, we’re obviously very happy with the result.”

Bernardez delivered the victory when he blasted a 30-yard free kick through the Galaxy wall and past LA goalkeeper Josh Saunders, who handled the deflected shot badly, letting it get past him for the vital goal.

“The important thing is it went in,” Bernardez said of the bumble by Saunders on his goal. “That’s all that really matters. I lined up the free kick to try to get a goal, and that was the result we got.”

“You’re trying to see through the wall,” Saunders said of Bernardez’s free kick. “The ball goes through the wall, deflects, takes a weird spin, and you’re trying to react based on what’s happening in front of you. My play was not acceptable. I’ll take the blame.”

The game-winning goal provided a fitting ending for the Bernardez, who had been stellar on the back-line all night against a dangerous Galaxy attack that had a number of chances throughout the match.

“Obviously, we didn’t finish off plays technically in and around the penalty area,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. “It cost us the game. We were in position to get a goal or two tonight, for sure. Failed to execute the last pass or shot.”

As the two teams head back to Buck Shaw for the second leg, Yallop and his team know the second 90 minutes will be anything but easy.

“It’s halftime,” Yallop said, referring to break between the two legs of the series. “It was an even game, they shaded on chances for sure, but we’re going home now. Hopefully we can lift ourselves and have a good performance, but again, it’s halftime and we’re just going to get rested and get ready for that game.”

via LA Galaxy – San Jose.

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