MLS returns with a full slate of games this weekend, and there's no doubt about the headliner – the California Clasico.
San Jose and LA will face off at Stanford Stadium for the third time in three years on Saturday night (10:30 pm ET, NBCSN, free stream on NBCSports.com) and it is sure the fireworks won't be limited to the postgame show. Here are five reasons why we should expect more of the same:
1. IT'S A STANFORD TRADITION: Let's see, the last two games between the Earthquakes and the Galaxy have produced 12 goals. (Also not forgetting the four-goal affair between the Earthquakes and New York Red Bulls in 2011.)
That sounds like some fun to me. Oh, and both the games have ended with three goal comebacks by the home team that have produced unforgettable celebrations. You might want to tune in just in case it happens again.
2. A RETURNING CAST OF CHARACTERS: Sure, Chris Wondolowski and Omar Gonzalez will still be in Brazil planning to beat Belgium, but Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane, Juninho, Alan Gordon and Steven Lenhart should be playing and they produced many of the theatrics in the previous matchups.
3. BOTH TEAMS NEED A WIN: The two teams have combined to collect four of the last six major trophies available in MLS since 2011. But this season the two teams have managed to string two wins together just once each.
With the Galaxy stuck in seventh place in the Western Conference and the Earthquakes a point below them in eighth, both will be desparately pushing for a win to try and move back into playoff positioning, and that could open things up, especially towards the end of the game.
4. THE MAN FROM PORTUGAL: No, not Cristiano Ronaldo.
Yannick Djalo has played just 296 minutes in MLS but is already one of the most exciting players in the league. His skill on the ball has produced some highlight-reel plays and we should expect no different when he faces off against the Galaxy for the first time.
Djalo has been a major health concern for the Quakes, however, but indications from training on Friday were that the forward/winger should be available in the stead of an injured Shea Salinas:
5. TIRED LEGS = LATE GOALS? Both teams are coming off playing 120 minutes in the US Open at midweek. LA's stars seems to be struggling with fitness. Could these factors lead to some late goals? Don't put it past these two teams in this game.