LA Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes | MLS Match Preview

LA GALAXY vs SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
STUBHUB CENTER, Carson, Calif.
Oct. 20, 2013 (WEEK 34, MLS Game #313)
6 p.m. PT (ESPN/Deportes; TSN2)

The third California Clasico of the season will have huge playoff implications when the LA Galaxy play host to the San Jose Earthquakes at StubHub Center. The Galaxy can clinch a postseason berth for certain with a win, following their second consecutive shutout victory, a 1-0 home triumph against the MontrÈal Impact. For the Quakes, the mathematics are simple: they must win to stay alive, coming off back-to-back 1-0 victories, last a home win against Colorado.

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REFEREE: Baldomero Toledo. AR1 (bench): Fabio Tovar; AR2 (opposite): Mike Rottersman; 4th: Daniel Radford
Toledo's MLS Career: 164 games; FC/gm: 25.1; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 60; pens: 61

DISABLED LIST: SJ -- Ty Harden, Peter McGlynn
SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: LA -- Juninho, Marcelo Sarvas; SJ -- Clarence Goodson, Chris Wondolowski
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: LA -- A.J. DeLaGarza, Sean Franklin; SJ -- Rafael Baca, Victor Bernardez, Sam Cronin, Alan Gordon, Steven Lenhart
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (53 meetings): Galaxy 26 wins (4 shootout), 85 goals; Earthquakes 18 wins (1 shootout), 72 goals; Ties 9
AT LA (25 meetings): Galaxy 17 wins (2 shootout), 48 goals; Earthquakes 5 wins (0 shootout), 30 goals; Ties 3

2013 (MLS):
6/29: SJ 3, LA 2 (Gordon 68, 93+; Salinas 92+) -- Sarvas 20; Jimenez 65)
8/31: LA 3, SJ 0 (Donovan 26; Keane 43, 67)

  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Robbie Keane scored two goals and Landon Donovan added another as the Galaxy strolled to a 3-0 win Aug. 31 at StubHub Center. On June 29 at Stanford Stadium, Shea Salinas and Alan Gordon each scored in stoppage time with the Earthquakes a man down, leading to a 3-2 San Jose victory.
  • The Earthquakes have an eight-game league unbeaten streak alive at home against the Galaxy, now across three stadiums. The streak started Aug. 3, 2008, at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
  • In a touch of irony, Landon Donovan is almost the leader for each club against the other. Donovan leads the Galaxy with 8 goals and 7 assists in 14 games for LA vs. the Quakes. In 12 career games for San Jose vs. the Galaxy, Donovan had 4 goals -- one behind Ronald Cerritos, whose five leads all Quakes in California Clasicos.
  • The teams also met in the Western Conference Semifinals a season ago. The Quakes won the first leg 1-0 in Carson, but the Galaxy claimed the series with a 3-1 win at Buck Shaw Stadium, the clubís first win in northern California since 2008.
  • Coaches record: Bruce Arena v SJ: P20 W8 L8 D4; Mark Watson vs. LA: P2 W1 L1 D0

LAST MEETING (MLS)

  • The Galaxy took the lead in the 26th minute. From a cleared free kick, Marcelo Sarvas fed Robbie Keane at midfield, and he turned and chipped the ball over the Quakes backline. Landon Donovan ran down the ball in open space, rounded goalkeeper Jon Busch in the area and tucked the ball home from a tight angle.
  • Keane doubled the Galaxy lead in the 43rd minute on a penalty kick, when referee Kevin Stott pointed to the spot after San Jose fullback Steven Beitashour fouled Gyasi Zardes.
  • The rout was complete in the 67th. A ball played over the area from the left was knocked back across goal by Zardes, and Keane smashed a full volley past Busch on the bounce from just inside the box.
  • LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Jaime Penedo - A.J. DeLaGarza (Michael Stephens 83), Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo, Todd Dunivant - Sean Franklin, Marcelo Sarvas, Juninho, Gyasi Zardes (Pablo Mastroeni 84) - Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane (Jack McBean 90).
  • SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-1-4-1): Jon Busch - Steven Beitashour, Jason Hernandez, Clarence Goodson, Jordan Stewart - Sam Cronin - Marvin Chavez (Shea Salinas 72), Chris Wondolowski, Alan Gordon (Jaime Alas 76), Cordell Cato - Steven Lenhart (Adam Jahn 90)

LA GALAXY
The LA Galaxy won for a second match on the trot, defeating the Montreal Impact 1-0 on Wednesday evening at StubHub Center. The Galaxy are fourth place in the Western Conference with 51 points from 32 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The game's lone goal came at the three-quarter mark of the match. Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush denied Leonardo's header to the far post from a Juninho corner kick, and substitute Laurent Courtois played the ball back to Jose Villarreal, whose shot ricocheted off Gyasi Zardes. Rookie defender Kofi Opare turned the ball home with his left foot from the top of the 6-yard box.
  • Bush was called upon to make seven saves, and also saw efforts from Marcelo Sarvas and Robbie Keane crack off the crossbar. Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Rowe made two saves for the clean sheet.
  • Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena made five changes to the team that took a 5-0 win against Chivas USA at StubHub Center. Brian Rowe came in between the posts for Jaime Penedo, Leonardo started in the back four in place of Omar Gonzalez, Juninho returned to the midfield in place of Pablo Mastroeni, and Jack McBean and Jose Villarreal formed the strike partnership in place of Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane.
  • LA GALAXY (4-4-2): Brian Rowe - Sean Franklin, Kofi Opare, Leonardo, Todd Dunivant - Michael Stephens (Laurent Courtois 60), Marcelo Sarvas, Juninho, Gyasi Zardes - Jack McBean (Robbie Keane 60), Jose Villarreal (Hector Jimenez 83).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Galaxy have posted back-to-back shutouts in their consecutive wins at StubHub Center, having now not allowed a goal in 218 minutes. They've recorded back-to-back league shutouts on four occasions this season; they have four shutouts in their last eight MLS games.
  • "All I told our team was a great win, maybe not a great game, but a great win," said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. "I think in the first half we were very poor technically, too slow on ball. When we got into the second half, we got a little bit better. But we know we could be better than we were tonight."
  • Making his third consecutive start, and the fourth league start of his MLS rookie season, Kofi Opare scored his first professional goal.
  • "[It's] true [that defenders don't often score]," Opare said. "I don't know, I had a feeling something was bound to happen today. I'm just glad I was able to get the goal for Arif and, obviously, for the Galaxy [to get] three points. That's what we need to make a statement."
  • Leonardo was able to return to central defense after a two-match absence, as Omar Gonzalez was still hampered by a adductor strain.
  • With Jaime Penedo away on international duty with Panama, Brian Rowe made his fourth start of the season. It was his second victory and second shutout this season (also winning 2-0 vs. Real Salt Lake on April 27).
  • "His communication skills mean so much, it makes it so easy on me, Sean, Leonardo, and Todd. The communication was top notch," said Opare. "Obviously his positioning was good, he was very aggressive off his line, and very commanding, which was very good. The coaching staff did a fabulous job on the scouting report, told us that Di Vaio and Wenger love to check in, so I think we did pretty well containing those two."
  • While he returned to the Galaxy from the U.S. national team instead of traveling to Panama, Landon Donovan did not feature in the Montreal match because of an ankle injury.
  • "Something got worse, so it's hard to know if there was an incident or if it was just some wear and tear or something. But somewhere along the way, it took a wrong turn," Donovan said. "We're always hopeful that you wake up one day and it feels good and you can play, and that's how we're going to take it every day ... Make sure that it's in a position so you're not doing more damage, but if I can play, I want to play."
  • Despite having arrived from Dublin at mid-afternoon after playing in the Republic of Ireland's World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan, Robbie Keane was available for the match and came on for the final half-hour.
  • "It means a lot to me to play all the time. As I've mentioned before, my focus when I'm with the national team is 100 percent and as soon as I finish that is the Galaxy," Keane said. "It's just a matter of me getting back and convincing Bruce that I wanted to be on the bench and be involve if needed. ... At 60 minutes there was not much happening and he put me on. This was a massive game for us. I think it was very, very important for us to get the three points, that was one of the reasons I wanted to come back because I knew this could put us into playoffs."
  • Said Arena: "I don't know if you were surprised he didn't start the game, he played 90 minutes last night in Dublin, I wouldn't think we could get 90 minutes out of him tonight. I would have liked to have not played him, but we needed to get Robbie on the field and his presence was spectacular. He gave the team confidence, energy, and the technical ability we needed to try and break this team down."
  • The two-time defending MLS Cup champions can secure their place in the 2013 postseason with a win or a draw vs. San Jose, or a Colorado loss to Vancouver.

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The San Jose Earthquakes made it three wins in a row with a second consecutive 1-0 victory, this time against the Colorado Rapids on Oct. 9 at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Quakes are in sixth place in the Western Conference with 47 points from 32 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The game's lone goal came in the 69th minute. After Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin had stopped Chris Wondolowski with a pair of saves -- and defender Drew Moor had made a pair of goal-line clearances in short order in the 64th minute, Wondolowski snapped a powerful header from a Shea Salinas corner kick that left Irwin flat-footed.
  • Earthquakes goalkeeper Jon Busch was not called upon to make a single save as the Rapids had just five total attempts at goal, none on target.
  • Quakes interim head coach Mark Watson made two changes to the team that claimed a 1-0 win against Chivas USA at StubHub Center. Clarence Goodson came into the back four with Victor Bernardez on national team duty, and Alan Gordon started for the suspended Steven Lenhart.
  • SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES (4-2-3-1): Jon Busch - Steven Beitashour, Jason Hernandez, Clarence Goodson, Jordan Stewart - Sam Cronin, Rafael Baca - Cordell Cato, Chris Wondolowski, Shea Salinas (Justin Morrow 87) - Alan Gordon (Adam Jahn 86).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Earthquakes matched their longest winning streak of the season with their third win in a row in the defeat of Colorado, also winning three in a row July 13-Aug. 3.
  • "That was probably a must-win game for us tonight. We needed the three points. I don't think one would have been enough. I don't think you go into a game with that as your main thought, but you know the result you need to come away with," Quakes interim coach Mark Watson said. "I thought our guys were excellent tonight. We were on top of the game from the start. We were sharp, moved the ball well and had a bunch of great chances. I thought we were a bit unfortunate not to score before [Chris Wondolowskiís goal]."
  • The Quakes have also kept clean sheets in back-to-back games for the second time this season, with four shutouts and just one goal conceded in the last five games, since the 3-0 loss at the LA Galaxy.
  • "[Our defenders] were fantastic. Everybody was digging in, battling hard and batting down balls," said goalkeeper Jon Busch. "[Colorado] is a good team with some potent offensive players. The backline stayed disciplined and they didnít allow too many looks at goal tonight, resulting in another clean sheet. It was the best team performance Iíve seen this year out of our guys and they showed up for this, the biggest game of the year."
  • For the second consecutive match, it was a 1-0 scoreline thanks to a Chris Wondolowski goal. It was Wondolowski's 10th goal this season; he has scored 10 or more goals in four consecutive seasons.
  • "As the season draws to an end, it feels like each game gets more emotional. The guys were loose before the game and it helped ease the nerves because this match was a must-win situation here at home," Wondolowski said. "We were so excited to play tonight; I was fired up all game and it's always great to play in front of our home fans here at Buck Shaw [Stadium]. Now we are a point back of where we want to be and know that if we take care of business we will be rewarded."
  • Shea Salinas set up the goal with his team-leading eighth assist of the season, his second in the last three matches. The eight assists are a career single-season high, after recording seven assists a season ago.
  • "Shea's service has been excellent," Wondolowski said. "He's somebody who thrives off running past defenders. He wants those one-on-one match-ups. He's quick and has good control and his service is usually very good when he gets in dangerous spots. Tonight, I thought his service was great."
  • With Victor Bernardez away, Clarence Goodson stepped into central defense after not featuring in the Chivas USA match. With the Quakes off, Goodson was then called into the U.S. national team for the World Cup qualifier vs. Panama.
  • Ramiro Corrales, the final player in MLS history still active who played in the league's inaugural season in 1996, announced his retirement following the conclusion of the season.
  • "It's been an honor playing much of my career here in San Jose," Corrales said. "I have a lot of great memories, from that first season in 1996 to the MLS Cups in 2001 and 2003 to the expansion season in 2008. It's been a great ride and I'd like to thank everybody -- fans, players, coaches -- for their support along the way."