Los Angeles (4-3-5) at San Jose (4-5-4), 10:30 p.m.
Palo Alto, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - The first California Clasico of the season
kicks off at Stanford Stadium on Saturday as the San Jose Earthquakes meet up
with the Los Angeles Galaxy.
The two sides enter the contest separated by one point, although both are
outside the playoff picture in the Western Conference.
San Jose won back-to-back games before suffering a 1-0 loss to Toronto FC in
its last outing, while the Galaxy was held to a 1-1 draw by Chivas USA that
extended its unbeaten run to four games.
The Earthquakes gave away a penalty kick in the 25th minute that was converted
by TFC's Jermain Defoe, accounting for the lone goal of the contest.
And although San Jose was pretty disappointing going forward for much of the
match, head coach Mark Watson was pleased with the way his side turned up the
pressure to close out the contest.
"I didn't think we were that dangerous going forward. We had a few balls in
the box but other than that we were not overly creative," said Watson. "A
little bit disappointing on that, that is something we need to work on but at
the end of the game we went forward and got a lot of balls forward and had a
couple of half chances. Disappointing overall but it's always nice when your
guys respond and make a game of it."
The Earthquakes were bounced from the U.S. Open Cup on penalty kicks by
Seattle Sounders FC on June 24, and the team will be missing both forward
Chris Wondolowski and defender Victor Bernardez, who are away on World Cup
Los Angeles is also missing a key defender in Omar Gonzalez due to World Cup
duty, and his absence, along with a few injuries, has forced head coach Bruce
Arena to shuffle his back line.
One player who has been moved around a bit is A.J. DeLaGarza, who shifted
inside to play alongside Leonardo in the last match against Chivas.
"At this point I don't have a preference between center or left back, I have
played both quite a bit, I am comfortable at both," DeLaGarza said. "Going
back and forth is a little difficult, but I have been there, this is my sixth
Arena is also hoping that his top two offensive options, Landon Donovan and
Robbie Keane, can return to full fitness after both have been recovering from
minor knocks over the World Cup break.