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CARSON, CA — The California Clasico is upon us once again, and this could be the most important one the San Jose Earthquakes (13-11-8) partake in. These two in-state rivals complete their season series tonight as the LA Galaxy (15-11-6) host the Quakes in the second to last game of the season. With the regular season coming to an end soon, the race for the top five spots in the West could not be closer. San Jose is only six points behind the first place team, with five teams in between. Tonight the Quakes travel down to Southern California to take on the Galaxy in a rivalry with a vast history.
It seems these two teams have always been rivals. With the feeling slight sense of NorCal vs SoCal in the air, the Galaxy and Earthquakes have always drawn large crowds of loyal supporters. All time, the Galaxy hold a slight winning record against the Quakes, with 26 wins and only 18 loses and 9 draws.
The last time these rivals faced off, the Galaxy ran away with a 3-0 win. Former Earthquake Landon Donovan started the scoring off a beautiful through ball from the Irishman Robbie Keane. Keane would net the other two goals in front of a sold out crowd at StubHub Center. Tonight’s match will be the rubber match of the season, as each team secured a win on their home field during the regular season. San Jose took a 3-2 win against the Galaxy at Stanford Stadium back in June.
San Jose rolls into Carson with a five game unbeaten streak. With the playoff race as tight as it is, the only option the Quakes have is to win if they want to keep their playoff dreams alive. San Jose struggled during the season on the road, but lately have been on a tear. Putting their past road woes behind them, the Quakes have won their last two road games; a 2-1 win over RSL and a 1-0 win over Chivas USA.
Keane and Donovan will put the newly offensive minded Quakes to the test. Keane leads the team with 15 goals this season, Donovan a close second with 10. San Jose has not allowed more than one goal in their last six games, five of those being shut outs. The Galaxy believe constant pressure will wear down the likes of Jordan Stewart, Victor Bernardez, and Clarence Goodson and allow them to take the advantage. San Jose has been riding a lot of confidence lately, and their defense is a main contributor.
A loss tonight will end any playoff hopes for San Jose. Chris Wondolowski and Shea Salinas have other ideas. Wondolowski boasts three goals in ten appearances against the Galaxy. Salinas has been a catalyst in the Quakes recent push, providing extra creativity and speed down the sides. The Quakes are ready for the next challenge, and until that final whistle blows on the season, Goonies never say die.