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SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Earthquakes defeated first-place LAFC 2-1 in front of a sellout crowd on Saturday night at PayPal Park. LAFC entered the match on a seven-game winning streak and hadn’t lost since July 2.

San Jose broke the deadlock in the 14th minute. Cristian Espinoza played a through ball to Tommy Thompson, who dribbled to the end line before playing a cut-back to forward Benji Kikanović for the first-timed finish (highlight).

The Quakes held onto the lead into halftime before LAFC equalized in the 54th minute through Kwadwo Opoku.

The Earthquakes then regained the lead on a thunderous strike by 18-year-old Cade Cowell in the 77th minute. Espinoza and Thompson combined again down the right flank with Thompson sending in a cross to the back post. Cowell volleyed the ball past goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau and into the roof of the net (highlight).

The Earthquakes will now travel to face Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, Aug. 27. The match will kick off from Children’s Mercy Park at 5:30 p.m. PT and will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Bay Area, KNBR 1050 (English), and 1370 KZSF (Spanish).

GAME NOTES

The Earthquakes currently hold a 6-11-9 record (27 pts.) during the 2022 MLS regular season.

San Jose is now 5-7-0 all-time vs. Los Angeles Football Club, including a 4-2-0 record at home. San Jose is now 5-2-0 in their last seven meetings with LAFC, including three straight home wins.

The Earthquakes are now 6-7-6 in MLS play under interim head coach Alex Covelo.

Benji Kikanović scored his fifth goal of the season and the ninth of his MLS career.

Cade Cowell scored his second goal of the season and eighth of his MLS career.

Tommy Thompson tallied his first and second assists of the season and 10th and 11th assists of his MLS career. It marked his second career multi-assist match (10/7/20 vs. VAN).

Cristian Espinoza tallied his 10th and 11th assists of the season and 40th and 41st assists of his MLS career. He has passed Chris Wondolowski on the club’s all-time assists leaderboard and now ranks fourth in club history, just three behind third-place Richard Mulrooney.

MATCH INFORMATION

2022 MLS Regular Season

San Jose Earthquakes 2 – 1 Los Angeles Football Club

Saturday, Aug. 20, 2022 – PayPal Park in San Jose, Calif.

Attendance: 18,000 (sellout)

Man of the Match: Tommy Thompson

Scoring Summary:

SJ (1-0) – Benji Kikanović (Tommy Thompson, Cristian Espinoza) 14’

LAFC (1-1) – Kwadwo Opoku (Kellyn Acosta) 54’

SJ (2-1) – Cade Cowell (Tommy Thompson, Cristian Espinoza) 77’

Misconduct Summary:

SJ – Tommy Thompson (caution) 30’

SJ – Nathan (caution) 31’

LAFC – Sebastien Ibeagha (caution) 42’

SJ – Benji Kikanović (caution) 60’

LAFC – Kellyn Acosta (caution) 67’

LAFC – Ilie Sanchez (caution) 67’

SJ – Eric Remedi (caution) 74’

LAFC – Ilie Sanchez (ejection) 79’

LAFC – Jose Cifuentes (caution) 86’

LAFC – Cristian Arango (caution) 90+6’

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES: JT Marcinkowski; Paul Marie, Tanner Beason, Nathan, Tommy Thompson; Jackson Yueill ©, Jan Gregus (Eric Remedi 69), Jamiro Monteiro; Benji Kikanović (Cade Cowell 69), Jeremy Ebobisse, Cristian Espinoza.

Substitutes not used: Oskar Ågren, Matt Bersano (GK), Ousseni Bouda, Judson, Shea Salinas, Jack Skahan, Niko Tsakiris.

SHOTS: 10; SHOTS ON GOAL: 5; FOULS: 14; CORNER KICKS: 11; SAVES: 1

LOS ANGELES FOOTBALL CLUB: Maxime Crepeau; Diego Palacios, Sebastien Ibeagha, Jesus Murillo, Franco Escobar (Eddie Segura 87); Kellyn Acosta ©, Sebastian Mendez (Jose Cifuentes 64), Latif Blessing (Ilie Sanchez 64); Kwadwo Opoku (Gareth Bale 76), Cristian Arango, Ryan Hollingshead (Carlos Vela 64).

Substitutes not used: John McCarthy (GK), Brian Rodriguez, Daniel Trejo.

SHOTS: 12; SHOTS ON GOAL: 1; FOULS: 14; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 3

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES INTERIM HEAD COACH ALEX COVELO

On tonight’s perseverance to get a signature win at home:

“Emotions are high right now. We need to be calm, but I believe tonight is one of the best games I have seen from this team this season. When you lose, you ‘stink’ and when you win, everybody wants to talk good things about you. The guys showed that we have personality and played good with and without the ball. And we did it.”

On where the motivation came from for tonight’s match even with the new coach announcement earlier this week:

“From the beginning when I took the team, I said I am here with San Jose and for San Jose. I was going to do whatever it takes to help the team. The players took the notice, took the news, they are professionals and know what they have to do. We are in this together. As I said in the past, the team trains fantastic every day, every week, following the game plan, and giving their best. We did it naturally and understanding there were nine games left and now eight. Before tonight, we were behind 9-10 points, and we have to still fight. We have to keep fighting and take this naturally.”

On the atmosphere in the stadium and what it meant to the team tonight:

“Tonight, we played with 12 players. Anything can happen when the stadium is like that. It was incredible. It was amazing that the fans pushed the team and accompanied us. It helped us a lot.”

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES DEFENDER TOMMY THOMPSON

On tonight’s performance:

“It felt great. The atmosphere was electric. I give a lot of credit to the fans that came out to support us. There is no doubt. We’ve had some difficult moments this year, but it’s moments like that that shows the strength of this team mentally, physically, and the ability that we have to compete with some of the best teams and the best players in this league. For me personally, it felt great to put in a good shift with the team, but I give a lot of credit to all the guys out there that fought until the end right in the middle of the difficult moment that we’re in. I think it’s exciting and it’s a night that I won’t forget anytime soon.”

On the team’s mentality for tonight after the hiring of Luchi Gonzalez as the next Quakes head coach:

“I think we’re all excited about the hire [Luchi Gonzalez]. It was a great hire, but at the end of the day, our focus is the here and now. I give a ton of credit to the guys that came in: Lucho [Luciano Fusco], [Alex] Covelo, Wondo [Chris Wondolowski], Steve Ralston, Tubo [Fernandez]. All those guys came in at a really difficult moment. I think it was seven games into the season and they provided us with the positive energy that we needed. If you look at our record over that time period, it shows that we’ve been competitive consistently over the past couple of months. I think that’s a really positive piece of this season and I give those guys a ton of credit. It was a difficult moment and we’ve fought through those difficult moments. So, the hire is exciting, it’s exciting for the fans and the players. I think Luchi coming in is a step in the right direction and we’ll all be ready once he arrives in San Jose, but right now, we’re focused on giving the fans performances like we did tonight and I just wanted to give credit to the coaches here that have done something special over the course of the last 15 games or whatever it may be because I’m grateful for that. Whether I was playing or not playing, I’m grateful for that positive energy that has just provided us with that stimulus that we needed this year.”