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SAN JOSE, Calif.
7 p.m. PT (FSW/E; KCAL)
The Los Angeles Galaxy remain on the road for the second match in a week, facing a tiring coast-to-coast and back again stretch, but now buoyed by a second consecutive victory on their travels in a wild 4-2 win against D.C. United at RFK Stadium which extended their lead in the Western Conference and the MLS overall table. The San Jose Earthquakes got off to a slow start but also come into the match with spirits raised after a 2-1 victory against the Dallas Burn at the Cotton Bowl last weekend to run their unbeaten streak to three matches.
REFEREE: Jair Marrufo. SAR (bench): Tom Supple; JAR (opposite): George Gansner; 4th: Richard Heron
MLS Career: 17 games; FC/gm: 31.2; Y/gm: 2.9; R: 4; pens: 7
Games involving Earthquakes: P5 W3 L1 T1; FC/gm: 26.8; Y/gm: 1.8; R: 1; pens: 1
Games involving Galaxy: P3 W2 L1 T0; FC/gm: 32.3; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 2; pens: 2
INJURY REPORT: SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES - OUT: DF Chris Roner (R ankle surgery); DF Eddie Robinson (L hamstring rupture); DF Todd Dunivant (L quad strain); MD Chris Brown (L ankle sprain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Troy Dayak (upper back sprain); PROBABLE: FW Jamil Walker (R ankle sprain); DF Craig Waibel (R groin strain). ... LOS ANGELES GALAXY - OUT: FW Carlos Ruiz (R ankle sprain); DOUBTFUL: DF Tyrone Marshall (L MCL sprain); DF Danny Califf (R MCL sprain); MF Peter Vagenas (groin strain); QUESTIONABLE: FW Jovan Kirovski (R foot sprain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
YELLOW PERIL: LA: Peter Vagenas (10 CP in 2 gms)
ALL-TIME (30 meetings): Earthquakes 8 wins (1 shootout), 36 goals ...Galaxy 18 wins (4 shootout), 48 goals ... 4 draws
This is the first of four meetings between the California rivals, and the first of two at Spartan Stadium. They'll meet next at The Home Depot Center on July 4, then play twice in two weeks at season's end, Sept. 11 in Carson and Sept. 25 in San Jose.
A year ago, each team won once (each at home) in league play - to set the stage for their remarkable playoff series. The Earthquakes won 1-0 on April 26 in San Jose (Donovan 54 pen), then the teams played to a 1-1 draw on June 18 on Victoria Street (Victorine 21 - Walker 63).
The Galaxy won the first of their home-and-home season-ending series 3-0 on Oct. 18 at the HDC (Moreno 6, 35; Elliott 61), then they again played to a 1-1 draw at Spartan Stadium a week later (Walker 80 - Moreno 56).
A week later, the Galaxy took the first leg of the Western Conference semifinal series, winning 2-0 at home (Victorine 59, Ruiz 62) to set up one of the most amazing comebacks ever in the return leg. The Galaxy scored twice inside the opening quarter-hour, before the Quakes came back with five goals - including a stoppage-time leveler on aggregate and an extra-time winner, to claim the series 5-4 on aggregate (Agoos 21, Donovan 35, Walker 50, Roner 90, Faria 96 - Ruiz 7, Vagenas 13).
It was the second consecutive bitter postseason defeat of the Galaxy in a "California Clasico", after the Quakes won the 2001 MLS Cup Final on a Dwayne DeRosario golden-goal winner. The Galaxy advanced in a 1996 playoff series, 2 games to 1.
The Galaxy have won four of the last eight league meetings over the last two seasons, with two draws. Los Angeles has won the season series five of eight seasons.
The Galaxy have also been the Quakes bogey team in the U.S. Open Cup, three times (2000, 2001, 2002) eliminating their California rivals, including on penalties in 2001 and in extra time in 2002.
Landon Donovan leads current Earthquakes with 4 goals against the Galaxy. The only other current Quakes player with more than one goal is Jamil Walker (2 goals). Ronald Cerritos is San Jose's all-time leader against the Galaxy with 4 goals, 6 assists.
Cobi Jones leads current Galaxy players with 2 goals, 11 assists against the Earthquakes, second on the club's all-time list (to Mauricio Cienfuegos - 4 goals, 12 assists). Carlos Ruiz is next among current players with 4 goals, 2 assists, while Sasha Victorine and Alejandro Moreno each have 3 goals for their career v San Jose.
Coaches record: Dominic Kinnear v LA: first meeting ... Sigi Schmid vs. SJ: P16 W8 L4 D4
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The San Jose Earthquakes pulled themselves back up to the .500 mark with a 2-1 victory against the Dallas Burn at the Cotton Bowl, their first victory in four matches. The Quakes now have nine points from seven matches on the season, with two wins, two losses and three ties, now in second place in the Western Conference, three points behind the Los Angeles Galaxy.
The visiting Earthquakes scored two opportunistic goals in the first half then rode the goalkeeping of Pat Onstad to escape with the victory.
Landon Donovan potted a rebound in the 13th minute to give San Jose the lead, after Brian Mullan hit the post with only Burn 'keeper Scott Garlick to beat from close range. Then in first-half stoppage time, Brian Ching got in front of a defender to stab home a Mullan cross from the right corner to double the lead at the break.
Eddie Johnson got free for a clear header on a Bobby Rhine cross from the right flank at the three-quarter mark (66) to pull a goal back for the home side, but they could get no more past Onstad, who recorded 10 saves on the night.
Earthquakes coach Dominic Kinnear made two changes to the team that played a remarkable 5-5 draw with the MetroStars at home the previous Saturday, both in his back four. Center back Troy Dayak, suffering from a neck injury, came out for rookie Ryan Cochrane who made his first career MLS start. Wes Hart came in at right back for Craig Waibel, who was hampered by a groin strain.
Here's Kinnear's team on the night (4-4-2): Pat Onstad - Wes Hart, Ryan Cochrane, Jeff Agoos, Ramiro Corrales - Brian Mullan, Richard Mulrooney, Ronnie Ekelund (Dwayne De Rosario 67), Chris Brown (Ian Russell 44) - Brian Ching, Landon Donovan
"I thought we played well overall. It's a funny league because last week we played well at home and couldn't get the win. But we always seem to play well here in Dallas. I don't know what it is - it might be the stadium. But I always play with a lot confidence here," Donovan said.
Onstad was impressed with the play of the back four, including the rookie Cochrane, who he said brought "some nastiness" to the defense. "They had played exactly zero seconds together," said the Canadian international. "They have not played together all week. That's the beauty of the system we play. Everyone knows what they are supposed to do."
Cochrane said he felt comfortable in his role as the hard man of the group. "I don't feel I have a mean streak," he said, "but I like the hard stuff. ... I'm the guy that likes to do stuff others don't want to do."
Left-sided midfielder Chris Brown, who suffered a sprained ankle which forced him out of the Dallas match before halftime, will not be available at the weekend. Ian Russell or Arturo Alvarez are expected to slot into the left wing role.
Central defender Troy Dayak, who did not travel to Dallas, is also questionable for the Galaxy match. But right back Craig Waibel is listed as probable to regain his starting role.
Goalkeeper Pat Onstad was named the Honda MLS Player of the Week for the second time this season in balloting by the Professional Soccer Reporters Association.
LOS ANGELES GALAXY
The Los Angeles Galaxy won for the second consecutive road match, a hat trick from Alejandro Moreno leading to a four-goal burst before halftime as they defeated D.C. United 4-2 at RFK Stadium on Wednesday. The Galaxy extended their lead in the MLS overall table to five points and in the Western Conference to six, though they have a match in hand over both the Chicago Fire (East leaders) and San Jose Earthquakes (second in West).
The Galaxy saw any questions they might have had about replacing injured Carlos Ruiz answered in an eight-minute burst just before halftime, as Alejandro Moreno scored the second-fastest hat trick in MLS history - all set up by Andreas Herzog.
Moreno stabbed at a Herzog corner a couple of times before finally pushing it over the line in the 35th minute, then four minutes later, Herzog put Moreno in behind United defender Mike Petke and he raced in on United 'keeper Nick Rimando before firing home between his legs.
Then on 43 minutes, Herzog delivered a pinpoint cross to Moreno cutting through the heart of the area, the Venezuelan international deftly flicking the ball inside the back post with the outside of his right boot.
Joseph Ngwenya dove to head home a Moreno headed knockdown of a Chris Albright cross barely a minute later, but in first-half stoppage time, United pulled a goal back through a fine strike from just on the edge of the area by Ronald Cerritos.
Then in the 67th minute, after United had a goal ruled out for offside, Freddy Adu scored the second goal of his young professional career with a tremendous strike, skating through a host of Galaxy defenders in the penalty area before hitting a powerful left-footed shot high inside Kevin Hartman's right-hand post.
The eight-minute span marked the second-fastest hat-trick in MLS history, only to another Galaxy performance, when Harut Karapetyan scored three goals in five minutes in a Los Angeles 8-1 victory at Dallas on June 4, 1998. In addition, for Moreno, it was five goals on five consecutive shots (including his first two goals this season), the first player in MLS history to achieve that feat.
"Any time you score three goals it's great," Moreno said. "The most important thing is we were playing without five guys that we consider starters and we've shown some depth and some determination in coming here and getting a result."
The four goals in nine minutes were the quickest ever allowed by United.
Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid made three changes to the team that drew 1-1 at home against the Colorado Rapids at the weekend. Paul Broome came in for Ricky Lewis at left fullback, while Joseph Ngwenya and Alejandro Moreno made the start as the strike partnership with Carlos Ruiz and Jovan Kirovski injured.
Kevin Hartman - Chris Albright, Hong Myung-Bo, Ryan Suarez, Paul Broome - Marcelo Saragosa, Sasha Victorine - Cobi Jones (Ricky Lewis 89), Andreas Herzog (Ned Grabavoy 74) - Alejandro Moreno, Joseph Ngwenya (Arturo Torres 71)
"Alejandro did well," Schmid said. "He's been disappointed that he's been on the bench, but he comes to work every day. I knew he'd be ready.