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Late-game scoring makes San Jose Earthquakes dangerous

The MLS-leading Earthquakes have scored 12 times in the 75th minute or later this season. San Jose hosts the Galaxy on Saturday night.

June 29, 2012|By Kevin Baxter
  • The San Jose Earthquakes celebrate after Justin Morrow scored a goal against D.C. United.
The San Jose Earthquakes celebrate after Justin Morrow scored a goal against… (Ezra Shaw / Getty Images )

Better late than never. That may not sound like much of an offensive strategy, but it's worked so far for the league-leading San Jose Earthquakes, who play host to the red-hot Galaxy at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night before a sold-out crowd of more than 50,000 at Stanford Stadium (ESPN 2, ESPN Deportes).

No team in Major League Soccer has scored more often than the Earthquakes this season, but it's not so much how many goals they score as when they score them that makes the team dangerous. San Jose has scored 12 times in the 75th minute or later this season, three of those coming against the Galaxy last month in a 3-2 win.

"When you have a team like that …you can never relax," said Galaxy captain Landon Donovan, the MLS Player of the Week after scoring three goals in two games last week. "You have to make sure that you play for 90 minutes. And that's what it's going to take Saturday."

Or more than 90 minutes since four of San Jose's 10 wins this season have come in stoppage time.

"We want to be ahead," Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena said. "And if San Jose attempts their heroics, that's great as well. That means we're going to be ahead going into the closing minutes. Our motivation is keep moving forward as a team."

The Galaxy has made great strides in that lately. It is the hottest team in MLS after picking up nine points with three wins last week. That's eight more points than the team earned in the previous seven weeks combined.

On the other hand San Jose has lost just once in its last six matches. But you want dangerous? The Earthquakes haven't scored in the first 70 minutes of a game since May 5.

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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