MLS: LA Galaxy- San Jose Earthquakes
This is the third California Clásico inside 20 days, with honours shared so far, San Jose took the first 3-1 and I previewd that at the end of last month (notes reproduced below), a few days later, Galaxy got a little revenge with a 1-0 road win in the US Open Cup, but that competition is never a priority for LA and if it was/is revenge they are looking for, it is this evening they will have in mind.
Since that win three weeks ago, Eathquakes have failed to score in three MLS starts and have looked toothless in the absence of key striker Chris Wondolowski something we touched upon ahead of the second of those games........
They put huge effort into that game and got a famous win, top scorer Chris Wondolowski got the opener there and is a massive loss tonight having since joined the national team. Also called up for Gold Cup duty is right sided midfielder Cordell Cato, a situation which is compounded as the other midfielder on that flank, Sanna Nyassi,is suspended. These are very difficuly absences to overcome especially against a team with so much offensive firepower and to have to do so following back to back games inside four days against a deadly rival and the biggest name in MLS football is too much.
They got Nyassi back last week for a home game with an even more beat up Houston Dynamo, who were missing four key players and Quakes were hugely disappointing in a 2-0 defeat. They played a friendly match with Mexican side America in midweek and had the idea of the squad playing 45 minutes each, but it back fired somewhat as they picked up an injury early and then Nyassi got sent off just before half time and they suddenly got a bit of a tough work out, spending a lot of time without the ball and a man short throughout the second period.
Galaxy were on fire offensively with 22 goals in six league and cup games, before a 1-0 defeat in the US Open in midweek away to Real Salt Lake, they were able to rest five players with today in mind and Steven Gerrard who played the second 45 minutes, is expected to see out 90 tonight in what is effectively his home debut and there is of course huge media interest in that and he and LAG will want the points to mark it. They received a further boost yesterday with the signing of Giovani dos Santos and he will join them after the Gold Cup, these are marquee signings and a clear indication of where the MLS is heading. Hosts have won 5 of 9 home games with Earthquakes, with all those wins coming by 2+ goals and if they are to get the points this evening, I feel it will be by a similarly convincing margin.
The home side are themselves hurt by international absences and a gruelling schedule, but meet a team with similar issues and without the rotation options, home advantage and big name introduction.
LA Galaxy -1.25 goals 2.13 asian line/Sportmarket.