Bruce Arena’s Los Angeles Galaxy are on the verge of punching their ticket to the MLS Cup Playoffs as they face Mark Watson’s San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday, October 20 at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. The Galaxy are currently 15-11-6 (51 points) and need just a draw to finish the job.
As for San Jose, they are 13-11-8 (47 points) and can win the California Clasico with a win on Sunday night at StubHub. However, they face a Galaxy team that suddenly finds itself controlling its own Supporters’ Shield destiny. Even if Los Angeles win our their remaining games, they will need some help in the final weekend to have the the last say in what has been a season of parity in Major League Soccer.
Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET and will be televised by ESPN and ESPN Deportes. The Live Blog starts at 4:10 p.m. PT/7:10 p.m. ET. Keep it right here on the View from Avalon for continuing coverage of the Los Angeles Galaxy and Major League Soccer.
T-110: Welcome to the Live Blog between the Los Angeles Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes, live from the world-famous StubHub Center in beautiful Carson, Calif. I’m, as always, Jo-Ryan Salazar, Editor of the View from Avalon, here with you on this important match for both teams. For San Jose, it’s win or go home. For LA, it’s at least draw and you’re in. This is going to be a fun California Clasico finale.
T-108: New York defeated Houston today, 3-0, so they are in the driver’s seat for the Supporters’ Shield. That is something that LA don’t need to worry about. For them, it’s NOT losing to San Jose. Here’s the preview from MLSSoccer.com.
REFEREE: Baldomero Toledo. AR1 (bench): Fabio Tovar; AR2 (opposite): Mike Rottersman; 4th: Daniel Radford
Toledo’s MLS Career: 164 games; FC/gm: 25.1; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 60; pens: 61
DISABLED LIST: SJ — Ty Harden, Peter McGlynn
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: LA — Juninho, Marcelo Sarvas; SJ — Clarence Goodson, Chris Wondolowski
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: LA — A.J. DeLaGarza, Sean Franklin; SJ — Rafael Baca, Victor Bernardez, Sam Cronin, Alan Gordon, Steven Lenhart
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (53 meetings): Galaxy 26 wins (4 shootout), 85 goals; Earthquakes 18 wins (1 shootout), 72 goals; Ties 9
AT LA (25 meetings): Galaxy 17 wins (2 shootout), 48 goals; Earthquakes 5 wins (0 shootout), 30 goals; Ties 3
6/29: SJ 3, LA 2 (Gordon 68, 93+; Salinas 92+) — Sarvas 20; Jimenez 65)
8/31: LA 3, SJ 0 (Donovan 26; Keane 43, 67)
- The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Robbie Keane scored two goals and Landon Donovan added another as the Galaxy strolled to a 3-0 win Aug. 31 at StubHub Center. On June 29 at Stanford Stadium, Shea Salinas and Alan Gordon each scored in stoppage time with the Earthquakes a man down, leading to a 3-2 San Jose victory.
- The Earthquakes have an eight-game league unbeaten streak alive at home against the Galaxy, now across three stadiums. The streak started Aug. 3, 2008, at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
- In a touch of irony, Landon Donovan is almost the leader for each club against the other. Donovan leads the Galaxy with 8 goals and 7 assists in 14 games for LA vs. the Quakes. In 12 career games for San Jose vs. the Galaxy, Donovan had 4 goals — one behind Ronald Cerritos, whose five leads all Quakes in California Clasicos.
- The teams also met in the Western Conference Semifinals a season ago. The Quakes won the first leg 1-0 in Carson, but the Galaxy claimed the series with a 3-1 win at Buck Shaw Stadium, the clubís first win in northern California since 2008.
- Coaches record: Bruce Arena v SJ: P20 W8 L8 D4; Mark Watson vs. LA: P2 W1 L1 D0
T-105: Earlier this week, Los Angeles shut out the Montreal Impact, 1-0. Montreal bounced back with a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union.
In other scores, Sporting Kansas City shut out D.C. United 1-0, FC Dallas shut out the Seattle Sounders 2-0 in Schellas Hyndman’s farewell, the Colorado Rapids defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 32, the New England Revolution defeated the Columbus Crew 3-2, the Chicago Fire shut out Toronto FC 1-0 and the Portland Timbers and Real Salt Lake played to a scoreless draw.
T-104: Odds from oddschecker:
Los Angeles Galaxy 7/10
San Jose Earthquakes 9/2
CONTROL POSSESSION AND BREAK EARTHQUAKES DEFENSE
The San Jose Earthquakes’ new defensive-first approach should provide the LA Galaxy with plenty of possession from the get-go on Sunday, but what they’re able to do with their chances will decide the outcome of the match.
LIMIT THE SAN JOSE WIDE PLAY
When the Earthquakes have chances going forward, they’ll be relying on their old staple of utilizing their fleet-footed wingers to launch crosses to their opportunistic forwards.
INJECTION OF TALENT IMMINENT FOR THE LA GALAXY
With a playoff berth on the line and an a top three seed in the Western Conference a legitimate possibility, LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena should have a full squad to choose from on Sunday.
T-101: Check out the latest and freshest stuff from the Los Angeles Galaxy Academy.
T-100: “Their last few games they’ve done a good job defensively and they’ve squeaked by some games,” said forward Landon Donovan to Adam Serrano. “We expect that the game on Sunday will look the same and they’ll try to do the same against us. Last time that they were here, we played a really good game and we have to do that again.”
T-98: Here are the standings on both sides, heading into tonight’s match.
|1||x - New York Red Bulls||56||33||1.7||16||9||8||53||39||14||29||15||24||-1|
|2||x - Sporting Kansas City||55||33||1.67||16||10||7||45||29||16||29||14||16||2|
|5||New England Revolution||48||33||1.45||13||11||9||48||38||10||29||13||19||-3|
|1||x - Portland Timbers||54||33||1.64||13||5||15||49||33||16||29||18||20||-2|
|2||x - Real Salt Lake||53||33||1.61||15||10||8||55||40||15||29||14||26||1|
|4||Seattle Sounders FC||51||33||1.55||15||12||6||41||41||0||28||14||13||-14|
|6||San Jose Earthquakes||47||32||1.47||13||11||8||33||41||-8||21||9||12||-17|
T-90: In other news, the New York Cosmos drew 1-1 with FC Edmonton in NASL play and will have to wait until next week to qualify for the Soccer Bowl against the San Antonio Scorpions. A recap of that match will be posted later this week on the View from Avalon.
T-85: If the Galaxy can break through the defensive shell that San Jose will utilize tonight, Los Angeles will break this game wide open and should be able to connect on the counter. Missed my Bold Predictions? Check them out here.
T-80: Lineups will be on the way as fans begin to enter the stadium. Once again, this is the Live Blog between the Los Angeles Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes on the View from Avalon and the FanSided Network. Be sure to refresh the screen for updated events as they happen.
T-36: “At this time of the year, whoever it is you have to get up,” Omar Gonzalez said this week to Adam Serrano. “Maybe there is a little bit extra because it is San Jose and the games that we’ve had in the last couple of years have been so crazy, but I have to put all that other stuff aside and just focus on what I can do to get the win. It’s all about team first.”
Lalas Hill is open. We could be seeing a sellout for this one.
LOS ANGELES GALAXY
Manager: Bruce Arena
Record: 15-11-6 [51 points]
Colors: White tops with blue sashes, white shorts, white socks
18 Jaime Penedo
5 Sean Franklin —- 4 Omar Gonzalez —- 28 Kofi Opare — 35 Greg Cochrane
26 Michael Stephens —- 8 Marcelo Sarvas —- 19 Juninho —- 29 Gyasi Zardes
10 Landon Donovan —- 7 Robbie Keane [C]
12 Brian Rowe GK
22 Leonardo MID
15 Laurent Courtois MID
20 A.J. DeLaGarza DEF
16 Hector Jimenez MID
33 Jose Villareal FWD
14 Robbie Rogers MID
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
Manager: Mark Watson
Colors: Blue tops, blue shorts, blue socks
18 Jon Busch
33 Steven Beitashour —- 5 Victor Bernardez —- 44 Clarence Goodson —- 22 Jordan Stewart
7 Cordell Cato —- 4 Sam Cronin —- 30 Rafael Baca —- 6 Shea Salina
8 Chris Wondolowski [C] —- 16 Steven Lenhart
24 Alan Gordon FWD
10 Walter Martinez FWD
14 Adam Jahn FWD
21 Jason Hernandez DEF
13 Evan Newton GK
9 Michael Fucito FWD
15 Justin Morrow DEF
T-17: Steven Lenhart is going to keep a cool head in this game because the home fans are going to let him hear it. He is to San Jose as Kevin Muscat is to the Melbourne Victory: a hard man with an intimidating reputation and attitude.
T-12: Both teams conclude warmups.
T-7: With Todd Dunivant out with an ankle sprain, the right side could be vulnerable. This could be the game where Greg Cochrane comes up big on that side of the field.
T-0: Both teams enter the pitch to the tune of the MLS Anthem by Audiobrain. Baldomero Toledo leads the way, accompanied by Fabio Tovar, Mike Rottersman and Daniel Radford.
National anthem by Lindsay Ridgeway.
FIRST HALF START: 6:09 P.M. ET/9:09 P.M. ET
1′ – The nightcap to a great week in Major League Soccer begins. Let’s get this started!
2′ – San Jose have made it clear they want to play defensive bunkerball to give themselves a chance for the counter. Can they get it done? Or will it be wide-open football for this 90 and stoppage? Omar Gonzalez now. And Marcelo Sarvas gets challenged. Free kick, Galaxy. Kofi Opare now. Now here’s future Iranian international Steven Beitashour. Back to Opare. Jaime Penedo now.
3′ – Gonzalez clears that out of danger. Michael Stephens’s play will be important tonight. Expect him to get the call-up this week against Metapan.
4′ - Shea Salinas’s corner is out and wide.
5′ – Out for a throw to the Galaxy. San Jose need to play with urgency. Their season is on the line tonight.
6′ – Opare again. Long ball for Landon Donovan is too long. Victor Bernardez now for the Quakes. Cordell Cato wins a restart.
7′ – That set piece misses everything. Back come LA with the counter. This is Sean Franklin. Correction: Cochrane will be on the left side, not Franklin.
8′ - No dice for Steven Lenhart. Kofi Opare denies him a chance. And Gyasi Zardes is held. He wins a restart.
9′ – A cross intended for Donovan and Keane is swept by Jon Busch. LA’s backline reset for their next sequence.
10′ - LA are saying to San Jose, “You’re gonna play at our pace now, else no chance for you.” That chance in the box goes south for the Galaxy.
11′ – Jordan Stewart now for SJ. He had a decent game in the last meeting; what will he do for an encore. Too long, Busch will take.
12′ – And San Jose is going to play the width game to give themselves a chance. The question is whether or not this will play into LA’s hands later on. Opare buys the home side some time.
13′ – Sarvas. And Gyasi Zardes loses that duel rather easily to Stewart. Restart awarded to the Quakes. Cochrane can’t believe it.
14′ – Cato with the hold-up play. Earthquakes, building solid possession on their sequence. Cato again, and he’s tackled by Juninho.
15′ – Clarence Goodson! First time I called his name. Header goes wide right. The buildup to that set piece was noteworthy.
16′ – Marcelo Sarvas loses that argument, restart given to the Quakes. Goal kick to Jaime Penedo, who has had a few close calls tonight.
17′ – Here’s a throw-in for the G’s. A few short passes here and there.
18′ – And here is the matchup under the microscope tonight: Steven Lenhart vs. Greg Cochrane. Who will prevail?
19′ – A shot for Robbie Keane is collected by Busch. No worries, Keano took too much time.
20′ – Rafael Baca with the pick, but Penedo is there to clear. And some handbags.
Yellow card 4 Sam Cronin
San Jose Earthquakes
21′ – Lenny with the marking. Back to Penedo. Speculative pass from Stephens.
22′ – Bernardez again. Another bad play from Stephens.
23′ – Throw-in now for the Earthquakes. Bad pass from San Jose. This is Gyasi Zardes.
24′ – And that did not work out too well. Back to TheJon. Los Angeles need to handle San Jose’s pressure game and treat this…like the MLS Cup Playoffs started.
25′ – Clean challenge by Opare on Lenhart. Zardes watches that go out for a throw-in to the Quakes.
26′ – Goal kick, Jaime Penedo. If he can put the debacle from last week behind him, he’ll make an impact this week.
27′ – The Earthquakes came close on their last corner. What will they do here? Cleared by Penedo. Take two. That’s Lenny with the attempt.
28′ – That misses and that will be a throw to the Galaxy. They waste the possession, though. Greg Cochrane fails on the recovery.
29′ – Robbie Keane, double-teamed. Anything to stop LA’ s leading goalscorer, I suppose.
30′ – And Michael Stephens’s bad day at the office continues.
31′ – Cato is shaken up and he may have hurt his nose, or something may have gotten in his eye.
32′ – Robbie and Landon ask for protection from Baldomero, who says, “Get on with it, you two.” Back come LA, with some good possession. Right into the arms of Jon Busch.
33′ – Gonzalez, Juninho, and the others. Here’s a through ball…intercepted. Jordan Stewart seems to be in all the right places tonight. Good shift.
34′ – Bad touch from Robbie Keane. Restart for the Quakes. This has been a defensive battle so far for both sides.
35′ – Back comes Cordell Cato. Gyasi Zardes playing it forward. Here come LA.
36′ – Terrible shot from Michael Stephens. Very Gyasi-esque. Goal kick, the Earthquakes.
37′ – Stephens again. This is some decent passing this minue. Marcelo now. And Juninho with the bad pass.
38′ – Here comes a free kick by Clarence Goodson. Chris Wondolowski now. Sam Cronin. Now it’s Zardes.
39′ – Sean Franklin is frustrated as he watches that go out for a goal kick.
40′ – Opare with the clearance. Makes you wonder if A.J. DeLaGarza is lost for the season. Zardes again. How do you stop him? Same with Keane: you double-team him.
41′ – Two saves in one from Jaime Penedo. I can say he’s gotten over it and he’s back to doing work. Corner. And another collection by Penedo. Great minute there from Jimmy P.
42′ – Free kick now for the Quakes. A shot from Shea Salinas…and right in the hands of Penedo.
43′ – That missed for Landon Donovan. He tried the chip shot…and it didn’t work. No, sir. Goal kick to Jon Busch.
44′ - Bernardez with the foul. This has been a solid first half defensively, and Jaime Penedo is back to being Jaime Penedo.
45′ – Keane, and that is a bad shot overall from Landon Donovan. Not sure where he trying to his that because that missed everything. One minute.
45′ + 1′ – Good possession here from LA this minute. But San Jose get defensive to close out this half.
Los Angeles Galaxy 0
San Jose Earthquakes 0
|LA Galaxy||San Jose Earthquakes|
|5||Attempts on Goal||7|
|1||Shots on Target||4|
|4||Shots off Target||2|
|5||Open Play Crosses||5|
|0||First Yellow Cards||1|
|0||Second Yellow Cards||0|
|52%||Duels Won %||47%|
|82%||Passing Accuracy %||73%|
For the Galaxy, they need to get the ball to Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane in the second half. AND FAST. They must give that combo a plethora opportunities to put this match away or San Jose will be able to take advantage. As for the Earthquakes, it all comes down to these last 45 minutes. They need to press and draw numbers forward and be wary of the counter-attack.
SECOND HALF START: 7:11 P.M. PT/10:11 P.M. ET
46′ – It all comes down to this second half here. This may be the last home game this season for Los Angeles if they don’t at least draw tonight.
47′ – Omar Gonzalez will keep this in play after a few bounces around. Long ball from Jaime Penedo. Stephens. He plays it to his left. Keane gets picked off. Jon Busch concedes a corner. Landon Donovan to take.
48′ – Long and wide. That missed Keane by a country mile, times two. Omar Gonzalez again.
49′ – Sean Franklin, and the long ball is collected by Busch. To be fair, Jon Busch hasn’t had to do too much work, with his effort reduced to routine collections. That may change later on.
50′ – Steven Lenhart gets whistled. Well, you can expect Alan Gordon to spice things up later on. He’s had a track record of doing that off the bench. Here’s Jordan Stewart. Kofi Opare with the block.
51′ – And Bruce Arena can’t believe it as Busch gets a reprieve from Toledo. If Los Angeles can’t capitalize on the counter, it’s on them.
52′ – Gonzalez again. Toledo plays advantage to both sides. Now here’s Franklin. Stephens now. Zardes with a bad shot.
53′ – Another clearance from Omar Gonzalez. And we have a foul.
Yellow card 5 Victor Bernardez
San Jose Earthquakes
54′ – This free kick will be a trick one, from 25 yards out. That was a pass intended for Omar; he just didn’t head it right.
55′ – This is Robbie Keane. He loses that argument with the “don’t argue”; ball awarded to San Jose.
56′ – The communication between Franklin and Keane was missing. Quakes on the counter.
57′ – Nice play from Penedo to go off his line and keep the sequence alive.
58′ – Goal kick to Busch for a foul in the box by LA. Gonzalez bails out Sarvas there but this will be a corner to the Quakes.
Substitution San Jose Earthquakes
IN 10 Walter Martinez
OUT 30 Rafael Baca
59′ – That’s cleared, and it’s back to Penedo.
60′ – Keane to Donovan…just a little bit too far with the pace.
61′ – And Steven Lenhart nearly cashed in. Goal kick, Penedo.
62′ – This is turning into a ball possession battle, with Sarvas getting tripped up by the turf. Penedo with another stop.
63′ – Penedo is playing out of his skins today. That’s what you need to do to be postseason-ready.
64′ – Seven in the back for San Jose as Jimmy P makes a collection. Walter Martinez is doing a good job to buy into going wide in the attack but LA are doing a good job to counter.
65′ – Robbie Rogers will be coming in as a sub for the Galaxy.
66′ – Opare with the clearance. Chris Wondolowski with anticipation.
67′ – Here comes the Quakes again…throw-in, San Jose.
68′ – Substitution Los Angeles Galaxy
IN 14 Robbie Rogers
OUT 26 Michael Stephens
69′ – Jaime Penedo plays it forward in the positional minute. Handball, Jordan Stewart.
70′ – Yellow card 19 Juninho
Los Angeles Galaxy
71′ – Lenhart fouls Keane. Here come the Galaxy. That cross missed everything, though.
72′ – And Omar Gonzalez hurt himself on the clearance. He pulled a muscle there.
Substitution Los Angeles Galaxy
IN 22 Leonardo
OUT 4 Omar Gonzalez
73′ – And this is bad news for LA. Tough luck for Omar. He had been solid until then.
74′ – So now, this match may go down as a draw for LA, which means they won’t win the Shield, but they get to prep for the postseason.
75′ – Substitution San Jose Earthquakes
IN 24 Alan Gordon
OUT 7 Cordell Cato
76′ – The Bash Brothers are here for the last 15 and stoppage. Bad clearance from Leonardo. Ouch.
77′ - Offsides, Alan Gordon. Goal kick to Jaime Penedo and that is too far for Gyasi Zardes.
78′ – Penedo collects. Zardes now. He wins a corner. I have a feeling that Donovan will not pass Jeff Cunningham tonight.
79′ – Wide, long, etc. Goal kick to Jon Busch.
80′ – San Jose draw people forward here. Looks like this game could be determined in the last 10 and stoppage. No penalty, advantage to LA.
81′ – What is Robbie Keane doing? He has Zardes on the left side, passing it to him would have been smarter.
82′ – Here’s Robbie Rogers. A chance for Donovan. Misses. Corner.
83′ – I don’t think either team wants to come out on top in this one.
84′ – What a game so far. That chance for the Galaxy fizzles out and Keane is yelling at Fabio Tovar as we speak.
85′ – Substitution San Jose Earthquakes
IN 9 Michael Fucito
OUT 33 Steven Beitashour
86′ – Goal kick, Jon Busch.
87′ – Michael Stephens concedes a free kick to the Quakes. Salinas to take. Throw-in, San Jose.
88′ – Defensive-first my foot. Press, press, and press. Corner, Quakes. Take two.
89′ – And another throw to San Jose. LA on the counter, and it will be a corner to the Galaxy.
90′ – Sean Franklin plays it forward. Look at the reaction here from San Jose.
90′ + 1′ – Three minutes of additional time. A lot of matches have been lost in these minutes. And that is some speculative clearing from Kofi Opare.
90′ + 2′ – More pressure from San Jose. Bend but don’t break defending from the Galaxy so far. No. It will be a goal kick.
90′ + 3′ – One last chance here for the Quakes. No penalty! No penalty! And the boos ring out.
Los Angeles Galaxy 0
San Jose Earthquakes 0
|LA Galaxy||San Jose Earthquakes|
|13||Attempts on Goal||13|
|3||Shots on Target||4|
|8||Shots off Target||3|
|17||Open Play Crosses||22|
|1||First Yellow Cards||2|
|0||Second Yellow Cards||0|
|49%||Duels Won %||49%|
|82%||Passing Accuracy %||75%|
So long Shield, hello playoffs. A full recap of this match will be posted on the View later this week. Thank you for following this live blog on the View from Avalon and the FanSided Network.