Gauchos in the Pros: Garza Scores Twice to Lead Earthquakes to Win Over Strikers

Sam Garza (Photo by John Todd)

STANFORD, Calif. - In a pairing that pitted Gaucho vs. Gaucho, former UCSB star Sam Garza (2010-11) shone as he led the San Jose Earthquakes to a 2-1 victory over the visiting Fort Lauderdale Strikers on Tuesday night at Stanford's Cagan Stadium in third round U.S. Open Cup play. 

Garza scored twice in the comeback victory over fellow alum Alfonso Motagalvan's (2005-08) club. Motagalvan started the match in midfield for the Strikers. 

With the win, San Jose advanced to face the Minnesota Stars, 3-1 winners against Real Salt Lake in their third-round match on Tuesday. The Earthquakes will host Minnesota on Tuesday, June 5 at Stanford's Cagan Stadium with a trip to the quarterfinals on the line.

After falling behind on a 55-yard wonder strike from Fort Lauderdale's Mark Anderson in the 38th minute, the Earthquakes came out of the break firing. Just two minutes into the second stanza, Garza played the role of creator with a looping cross to the back post where Sercan Guvenisik nearly volleyed in an equalizer if not for a diving fingertip save by Strikers goalkeeper Matt Glaeser.

The Earthquakes continued to pressure the visitors and broke through in the 63rd minute with the first of Garza's pair. Simon Dawins came off the bench to create the chance, sliding a pass across the top of the area that Guvenisik laid off for Garza. The rookie midfielder then slotted his shot past Glaeser to knot things up at 1-1.

Seven minutes later, Garza secured San Jose's passage to the U.S. Open Cup fourth round by pounding a rising shot from 22 yards out into the upper netting.

After taking the lead, San Jose kept the ball and saw out the game while still creating several dangerous chances. Steven Lenhart had the clearest look at goal, hitting a shot on the run from inside the area on the right that Glaeser barely got his hands to. Lenhart had another look in the 83rd minute as Guvenisik placed a cross into the mix. Lenhart rose and nodded the ball to the far post, but missed by inches.

The win is San Jose's first in U.S. Open Cup play since Aug. 3, 2005 when the Quakes knocked off the Portland Timbers 2-0 at PGE Park.

Portions of this release courtesy of SJearthquakes.com