All it took was 13 minutes of game time for the San Jose Earthquakes to develop an entirely new outlook, and they will take their newfound optimism into a home game Saturday against the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Ineffective against Los Angeles FC last weekend, and coming off a pair of embarrassing defeats, a boost arrived for the Earthquakes in the 80th minute Saturday when Shea Salinas scored to even the game at a goal each.
The ultimate reward came in the third minute of stoppage time when Jackson Yueill delivered the game-winner for a 2-1 victory just before the final whistle.
Suddenly, the weight of consecutive defeats by a combined 11-1 score, and nine consecutive games without a victory (0-6-3), was lifted for the Earthquakes (3-6-5, 14 points).
"We had confidence in ourselves, and then it came into fruition through us winning a game," Salinas said. "Hopefully, we build on that, and we remember who we are and can keep playing that way."
The Galaxy (4-6-3, 15 points) had a revival of their own earlier this season. They were winless in five games to start the season (0-3-2) before coming to life in a 2-0 victory over rival LAFC on Aug. 22. It led to a four-game winning streak that included another victory over their crosstown rivals.
But while the return of forward Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez was supposed to add firepower to the offense, the club is 0-3-1 since he recovered from a calf injury. In those four games, the Galaxy have scored a single goal and it didn't come from Chicharito.
Galaxy forward Cristian Pavon was leading the way in the team's revival. He had goals in three consecutive games before Chicharito returned. Yet Pavon also has just two shots on goal in the Galaxy's four-game slide that includes a 0-0 tie at San Jose on Sept. 13.
The Galaxy hope to get a boost from Yony Gonzalez, with the Columbian winger set to make his debut with the club Saturday. He was acquired on loan from S.L. Benfica in Portugal.
"He's ready (and) he's going to impact very well with us," head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto said. "He's the kind of player that we need. He can play out wide or up top. The best thing is that we have options, we have a lot of games coming out so everyone has to be ready."
The Galaxy leads the Earthquakes 41-29-18 across all competitions in the California Clasico rivalry. Saturday's meeting will be a battle of teams at the bottom of the Western Conference standings.
--Field Level Media