The stage was set on Saturday night, as the sun set in Palo Alto and nearly 51,000 people packed into Stanford Stadium for a California Clasico-record attendance. The Earthquakes dug deep and squeaked out a 1-1 draw with the rival LA Galaxy, thanks to another late goal from red-hot forward Chad Barrett in the 90th minute.
San Jose were forced to rewrite the game plan early when captain and center back Victor Bernardez had to be subbed out in the eighth minute due to an injury. The early substitution led to a variety of lineup shifts, with young midfielder Fatai Alashe dropping to center back, forward Simon Dawkins replacing him in the middle of the field and Chad Barrett entering the game up top.
It was the Quakes who looked to have all the chances to strike first in this Cali Clasico. Alberto Quintero had a breakaway opportunity turned away by Galaxy goalie Brian Rowe in the 11th minute and just as the 45th minute approached, Barrett nearly chipped in a shot from outside the box only to be denied by the crossbar. As the first half whistle blew you could almost hear an audible sigh of relief from the Galaxy bench, thankful for the scoreless first half.
After a beautiful military appreciation-themed halftime, both teams were ready for the second 45.
The Galaxy came out firing in the second half, dialing up the pressure on the Quakes backline. It was Los Angeles midfielder Steven Gerrard’s pass that threaded the needle on a cross to Giovani dos Santos, who nudged a header just past the outstretched arms of David Bingham in the 69th minute.
The Earthquakes didn’t flinch as they rallied together in search of an equalizer. The offense came alive for the last 20 minutes of the game as the Quakes broke through for chance after chance. Just as the scoreboard lit up 90:00, the men in blue finally broke through, as Shea Salinas connected with none other than Chad Barrett on a set piece for the equalizer. Just as Barrett’s header flew into the back of the net, Stanford Stadium exploded into pandemonium, allowing the San Jose faithful to finally let their cheers out after being teased throughout the game.
The drama wouldn’t stop there as the officials allotted for five minutes of stoppage time, just enough for tempers to boil over. In the 97th minute, it was a hard foul from Ashley Cole that set the drama into motion. Cole received a yellow card for the tackle and then a red card for “abusive language”, causing a huge scuffle between both teams at midfield. San Jose was unable to take advantage of the extra man, however, as the final whistle blew just a few moments later. As the Stanford Stadium lights went out, the sky would be lit up with fireworks putting an end to another eventful California Clasico.