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California Clasico: Top 10 players who starred for SJ & LA

Brian Ching, LA Galaxy - April 7, 2001

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

For as heated a rivalry as SJ vs. LA has become over the years in MLS, there has been a multitude of players who have defended the colors of both California clubs (28 in total).

Quite a few of them are tremendously accomplished. Here is our Top 10 to wear both jerseys.

#10 Ned Grabavoy — Both the Quakes and Galaxy gave up on one of the most dependable players in MLS in recent years with Real Salt Lake. He joined LA as a rookie in 2004 and was part of the 2005 "double" before being shipped to Columbus in 2006. He landed in San Jose via the Expansion Draft, but after the 2008 season, manager Frank Yallop cut him.

#9 Danny Califf — The central defender is back home in California with Chivas USA, but he started his MLS career with the Goats' bitter rivals LA in 2000. After four seasons and 103 matches in a Galaxy jersey, he was traded to San Jose where he spent 2005 before heading to Europe.

#8 Alan Gordon — One of the longest-serving Galaxy players in recent history (2004-2010), Gordon played in a total of 99 matches for the three-time MLS Cup champs, who drafted him back in '04. After filling in for Steven Lenhart last year in his first year in San Jose, he's now carved out a role as supersub for the Supporters' Shield leaders.

#7 Alejandro Moreno — Another great draft pick by LA was the Venezuelan international in 2002. But struggles to secure a starting spot in LA led to a trade to San Jose, where he played one season and then joined the team in its relocation to Houston.

#6 Joe Cannon — One of the most prominent figures in Quakes lore (eight total seasons in SJ), Cannon played the 2007 season in LA for his ex-Quakes coach Yallop when he took over the Galaxy on David Beckham's arrival. San Jose made a deal to bring him back in 2008, but a few years later lost the goalkeeper in the Expansion Draft to Vancouver.

#5 Todd Dunivant — Had a promising start to his MLS career as the No. 6 overall draft pick by San Jose in 2003, staying in Northern California after playing at Stanford. An MLS Cup champion with the Quakes in 2003, he was traded to LA before the double-winning 2005 campaign. After bouncing around the league, LA brought him back in 2009 and he's been an immovable starter at left back for the Galaxy ever since.

#4 Brian Mullan — Drafted by the Galaxy in 2001, he was a spot starter and after two seasons was traded to San Jose just in time to become a main cog of their 2003 MLS Cup championship season. He would earn legendary status for the Quakes and later the Houston Dynamo as one of the most dominant right midfielders in MLS during his prime.

#3 Eddie Lewis — Now here's one of the best draft picks in San Jose's history out of UCLA. After a Best XI-caliber spell with the club (1996-99), he took his lefty crossing talents to England where he had a productive run before returning home to California with the Galaxy in 2008.

#2 Brian Ching — If only the Galaxy held on to all those draft picks who would go on to become productive pros. Ching only played eight matches and scored one goal for LA in 2001, winding up in the lower divisions a year later. The Quakes picked him up the future national teamer in the 2003 Supplemental Draft and Ching worked his way up to becoming the face of the club by the time it relocated to Houston.

#1 Landon Donovan — After establishing himself in MLS with the San Jose Earthquakes during four seasons on loan from Bayer Leverkusen (2001-04, 87 matches, 32 goals and two MLS Cup titles), he made a controversial permanent return from Germany in 2005, landing back home in Southern California with the LA Galaxy where he's gone on to become the team's all-time leading scorer (88 goals).

Also wearing both jerseys:

Chris Aloisi: LA in 2004 for 4 matches / SJ in 2005 for 6 matches
Dan Calichman: LA in 1996-1998 for 68 matches / SJ in 2000 for 16 matches
Steve Cronin: SJ in 2004 for 0 matches / LA in 2005-2008 for 28 matches
Gabe Eastman: LA in 1999 for 1 match / SJ in 2000 for 2 matches
Simon Elliott: LA in 1999-2003 for 122 matches / SJ in 2009 for 15 matches
Adam Frye: SJ in 1999 for 3 matches / LA in 2000-2002 for 48 matches
Cornell Glen: LA in 2006 for 4 matches and 2 goals / SJ in 2009-2010 for 33 matches and 5 goals
Gavin Glinton: LA in 2002-2003 and 2006-2007 for 51 matches / SJ in 2008 for 6 matches
Kelly Gray: SJ in 2005 and 2008-2009 for 41 matches / LA in 2007 for 6 matches
Zak Ibsen: LA in 1999-2000 for 50 matches / SJ in 2001-2002 for 41 matches
Harut Karapetyan: LA in 1996-1998 for 73 matches and 18 goals / SJ in 1998 and 2000 for 29 matches and 2 goals
Jovan Kirovski: LA in 2004-2005 and 2009-2011 for 104 matches / SJ in 2008 for 9 matches
David Kramer: LA in 1996-1997 for 24 matches / SJ in 1997-1999 for 44 matches
Lawrence Lozzano: SJ in 1997-1998 for 41 matches and 14 goals / LA in 1998-1999 for 7 matches and 0 goals
Brandon McDonald: LA in 2008 for 16 matches / SJ in 2009-2011 for 58 matches
Curt Onalfo: LA in 1996 for 13 matches / SJ in 1997 for 6 matches
Ian Russell: SJ in 2000-2005 and 2008-2010 for 131 matches / LA in 2007 for 3 matches
Craig Waibel: LA in 2001-2002 for 21 matches / SJ in 2003-2005 for 53 matches