STANFORD -- Not even World Cup fever could ignite the Earthquakes on Saturday night.

Nor could a sellout crowd of 50,006 at Stanford Stadium as San Jose's offensive woes continued with a 1-0 defeat to the Los Angeles Galaxy.

After scoring dramatic victories the past two years in their marquee game at Stanford, the Quakes had no answers in their first Major League Soccer game since the World Cup break three weeks ago.

The defeat kept San Jose (4-6-4) in eighth place in the nine-team Western Conference and trying to figure out what it will take to break out of a season-long slump with 15 goals in 14 games.

The Earthquakes are 2-3 since leading scorer Chris Wondolowski joined the U.S. national team for World Cup preparation last month.

They had hoped to rebound from the break with a riveting performance and fresh legs. Instead, the Galaxy (5-3-5) got the result it wanted in the first of three meetings of the "California Clasico."

It also was a sweet moment for the Galaxy's Landon Donovan, who was unceremoniously cut from the U.S. team last month at Stanford.

The outcome didn't surprise Quakes central defender Jason Hernandez, who was a last-minute replacement for Clarence Goodson. The regular starter was bothered by a groin muscle strain, allowing Hernandez to get his 200th MLS appearance.

"With the Galaxy, you have to weather them a little bit," Hernandez said. "One play usually decides a game like this."

The "play" came in the 62nd minute on a heads-up pass by L.A.'s leading scorer, Robbie Keane. The Galaxy striker found teammate Marcelo Sarvas in the box. The Brazilian quickly laid the ball off to Gyasi Zardes, who got his third goal of the season.

"If Barcelona had scored that goal, people would be talking about it for weeks," Donovan said.

The goal held up despite the Earthquakes' last-gasp effort in the final minutes. No miracle comebacks this year.

In 2012, San Jose fell behind 3-1 in first half but won 4-3. Last year, it took two second-half stoppage goals for a 3-2 victory while down a man.

Quakes officials tried to capitalize on the United States' stunning performance in Brazil this month with a halftime tribute to the 1994 World Cup game at Stanford that featured the Americans and Brazilians in a second-round match.

The Quakes now prepare to play host to last-place Chivas USA on Wednesday night at Buck Shaw Stadium.

Despite the World Cup break, injuries remain a concern.

Coach Mark Watson had to improvise again Saturday even before Goodson's scratch. In something of a surprise move, the coach used Sam Cronin on the left wing to replace the injured Shea Salinas (lower abdominal muscle strain). That allowed Watson to pair Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi and Khari Stephenson in the central midfield.

It helped having Yannick Djalo back for his third start. The oft-injured Djalo played behind Steven Lenhart as the second striker. His presence gave the Earthquakes more creativity with the ball, but it never seemed to click against the Galaxy defense.

Djalo was replaced in the 73rd minute, saying he felt some pain in his leg.

Victor Bernardez did not suit up after returning Friday from Brazil where he played in all three games for Honduras, but he should be available Wednesday night.

Defensive replacements Ty Harden and Hernandez helped keep the Galaxy out of the goal for a good hour.

It was a special moment for Hernandez, who has become a reserve since Goodson arrived in August. He wasn't sure he'd be around this season because of the change.

"I didn't think I'd get another 'California Clasico' under my belt," he said.

He was hoping not to get one that ended in defeat.

WEDNESDAY'S GAME
Chivas USA (3-7-5) at Earthquakes (4-6-4), 7:30 p.m. CSNCA

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