Pando Ramirez

California Clasico semifinal series

LOS ANGELES GALAXY v SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
Sun., Oct. 23, The Home Depot Center (12 noon PT; ESPN2)

LEAGUE HEAD-TO-HEAD: LA 21 wins, 58 goals; SJ 12 wins, 51 goals; 5 ties
2004 HEAD-TO-HEAD: LA 1 win, 4 goals; SJ 3 wins, 9 goals; 0 ties
AT THE HOME DEPOT CENTER:
5/21: LA 2 - SJ 1 (Kirovski 39; Vagenas 77 - Cerritos 69)
10/15: LA 1 - SJ 3 (Donovan 68p - Chung 42, DeRosario 45, Mullan 77)
MLS CUP PLAYOFFS: LA 3 wins, 9 gls; SJ 3 wins, 8 gls

REFEREE: Abbey Okulaja. SAR (bench): Nate Clement; JAR (opposite): George Gansner; 4th: Ricardo Salazar
MLS Career: 42 games; FC/gm: 30.9; Y/gm: 3.6; R: 3; pens: 12
2005: 18 games; FC/gm: 28.9; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 1; pens: 4

INJURY REPORT: LOS ANGELES GALAXY - OUT: DF Ben Benditson (sports hernia); PROBABLE: MF Cobi Jones (R abdominal strain) ... SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES - OUT: DF Craig Waibel (R knee ACL/LCL tear); DF Troy Dayak (L knee ACL tear); MF Brad Davis (L groin strain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Chris Aloisi (R hip flexor strain); FW Alejandro Moreno (R ankle sprain); MF Danny O'Rourke (back strain); PROBABLE: DF Wade Barrett (L hamstring strain); FW Ronald Cerritos (L ankle sprain)
SUSPENDED: LA: Tyrone Marshall (through Oct. 23); SJ: Kevin Goldthwaite (Oct. 23)
WARNINGS: none

LOS ANGELES GALAXY TEAM NEWS

  • Down the stretch, the Galaxy struggled to hit the back of the net, and the worry is still there heading into the Western Conference Semifinals. The inability to finish continued in the playoff preview, the Earthquakes 3-1 win in the season finale at The Home Depot Center. "That was the difference," Galaxy boss Steve Sampson said. "They put their (chances) on target and we didn't. Next week, we can't afford to miss the number of opportunities we gave up tonight." ...

  • In an attempt to find an effective thrust forward, Sampson moved Landon Donovan into a wide attacking role to start the final match - the second time he had done that against San Jose this season. Donovan moved more centrally later, then ended the game as an out-and-out striker. "I feel I need to be closer to the goal," Donovan said. "I'm more effective when I'm closer to the goal." ...

  • Sampson agrees. "It's pretty apparent we need to get Landon the ball more," he said. "Landon's the type of player that loves to see the ball and does good things with it. It behooves us to make sure we get him the ball a lot more." ...

  • Sampson hinted Donovan could return to his forward role. "I think our midfield, especially in the first half (last weekend), needed to do a better job of finding those spaces in order to hold the ball and find a connection with the front runners," said Sampson. "It's just a matter of finding the right combination." ...

  • Regardless of where Donovan plays, the Galaxy realize they need more buildup play if they are to succeed at the weekend. "We don't necessarily need to play a direct style of play against San Jose. We need to possess the ball more. We have to make sure we possess the ball and really dictate the speed of play, making sure that when we send guys through, that they have a purpose," said Galaxy 'keeper Kevin Hartman. "When we've had success against San Jose it's been because we've been able to hold the ball and involve our midfielders and let them dictate the flow of the game."

    SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES TEAM NEWS

  • As the Earthquakes head into the postseason as the Supporters' Shield, there are some concerns over the team's health. Defender Wade Barrett tweaked a hamstring while on national team duty. Forward Ronald Cerritos injured an ankle against FC Dallas three weeks ago, while sometime running mate Alejandro Moreno suffered the same fate against Los Angeles. And Brad Davis will be out with a recurrence of his groin injury. "[The injuries] will test us," said Earthquakes head coach Dominic Kinnear. "But I think we'll be OK." ...

  • Barrett and Cerritos are expected to return in time for Sunday's first leg against Los Angeles. But if neither Cerritos nor Moreno can go, then Julian Nash will likely partner Brian Ching in attack. "If [Cerritos] and [Moreno] can't play due to injury, then I'm definitely ready to go," said Nash. "If I get that chance, I feel like I can utilize it." ...

  • If Barrett is also unavailable, there could be a decision for Kinnear, after replacement Kevin Goldthwaite was sent off in the season finale and will be suspended for the first leg. ...

  • MetroStars defender Jeff Agoos, who was with the Quakes a year ago, pointed to one key for the club's league-best defensive record. "I think (Danny) Califf has really made a big impact and settled the defense down,'' said Agoos. "Before he came in, it was a bit sporadic. Danny came in and did a great job making the group hard to penetrate." ...

  • In the week leading up to the first leg, Pat Onstad was named the league's goalkeeper of the year. Ever-present for the Quakes at age 37, he led MLS in goals against average (0.97) and shutouts (12). "I never thought I would be playing in my 30s,'' Onstad said. "I used to tell my friends I would be playing in local leagues in Vancouver." ...

  • The Galaxy-Quakes series is one of three that are the same from 2003, along with Fire-United and Revs-Metros. In '03, the Galaxy won 3-0 and the teams tied 1-1 before their epic playoff series "I don't think we made any (statement) because I think the playoffs are 100 percent brand new," Kinnear said. "We're happy with the way we played but I think everyone knows the ... league starts over again in the playoffs."