Arena: Wondo absence might hurt Quakes in rivalry game

Bruce Arena

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CARSON, Calif. — Due to international duty, the LA Galaxy will be missing a pair of players and San Jose will be minus another when the two teams meet at The Home Depot Center on Wednesday (10:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online).

But is possible that the Quakes’ one absence might have more effect than the two stars missing for LA?

“[Chris Wondolowski] is a good player and he’s been playing well,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena told reporters on Tuesday. “If you have good players that aren’t playing well and you lose them, maybe it’s not as much, but when you have a good player playing well, it probably hurts them a little bit.”

Wondolowski is the leading scorer in MLS this season with 11 goals in 12 matches. Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan, meanwhile, have combined for five goals and have been unable to score a goal in any of the Galaxy’s last five games.

“It hasn’t the last five games or so,” Arena said of the absences of Donovan and Keane. “When you haven’t done well and lose a player, you can’t be crying about it. No one questions the quality of Robbie or Landon, but we don’t have any of the results that show it’s going to be a loss that we can’t overcome.”

The Galaxy dealt with a plethora of absences during their MLS Cup season in 2011, due to similar national team call-ups and injuries, leading them to assert this year’s challenge is no different.

“We can’t rely on individuals and we can’t rely on the talents of Landon and Robbie,” Galaxy midfielder David Beckham said. “One of the reasons we won the championship was because we had a lot of strength in depth, a lot of character throughout the team, a lot of character with the players that actually weren’t starters.

“We’re champions,” Beckham added, “and we need to start playing and walking on the field like champions instead of walking on the field thinking because we’re champions we just have to turn up.”

Luis Bueno covers the LA Galaxy for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached by e-mail at buenodad@gmail.com.