The game is upon us once again. The match-up Earthquakes fans wait for throughout the entire regular season, the California Clasico. This time around, the San Jose Earthquakes (9-10-7) travel down I-5 and brave the traffic to take on the LA Galaxy (12-9-4) in Carson at the StubHub Center on Saturday evening. Second place in the West, the Galaxy look to avenge their 3-2 loss suffered to the Quakes in the last Cali Clasico back at the end of June. Playing a man down once Victor Bernardez was shown two yellows, San Jose scored two late goals and came back for a dramatic win.
San Jose, currently in eighth place in the West, still remains only three points out of a playoff spot. With the way they have been playing, their playoff hopes are nowhere near out of reach. Despite the 2-2 tie to FC Dallas and the CONCACAF 1-0 loss to FC Heredia, the Quakes have been impressive as of late. In their last five games, they are 3-1-1 and are showing more confidence and improvement daily. Under the new leadership of Mark Watson, the Goonies we all know and love from the 2012 season are starting to show. History is on the Quakes side, as they are undefeated in their last four regular season matches against the Galaxy.
Goonies are gonna goonie, and most likely get yellow cards. Three Quakes players, Rafael Baca, Victor Bernardez, and Justin Morrow, have all been suspended until September 1st due to yellow card accumulation. Both Steven Lenhart and Chris Wondolowski are also one yellow away from suspension. The absence of Bernardez could potentially have the biggest consequences; however with Clarence Goodson and Steven Beitashour healthy, the back line should be solid.
What to watch for: Landon Donovan’s confidence has been building. From talks of retirement to reportedly receiving multiple offers from Europe to finally signing an extension with the Galaxy, the ex-Quake got his groove back. Donovan has netted four goals in his last three games, good for his 131st MLS goal, just three shy of the all-time record.