Nov 6, 2012, 4:35 PM EST
Something about these teams brings out the controversial and the chaotic.
Earlier this year a match between the California rivals ended with David Beckham kicking balls are the referee and a near donnybrook, where even the Earthquakes lovable mascot got pushed around. Seriously.
Another one finished with Galaxy center back taking a paring knife to San Jose’s playing style.
And the opening leg in this series finished with a foul that may or may not have been a foul – leading to a goal that probably shouldn’t have been a goal.
Trust us: it won’t be dull when the teams match up at teeny-tiny Buck Shaw Stadium. Even if there’s no tomfoolery afoot, a very good team will fall Wednesday.
Reigning MLS champion Los Angeles, looking tired and not quite up for the job lately, could be 90 minutes from going on vacation with precious little to show for 2012. Otherwise, the Supporters Shield winning Earthquakes will finish a lot earlier than a lot of us expected.
Kickoff: 11 p.m. ET, Buck Shaw Stadium, ESPN2
San Jose leads the series on total goals, 1-0
On the San Jose Earthquakes
- Chris Wondolowski is slumping; his shutout streak has reached one match. Of course, he does have memories of a 27-goal season to fall back on (one that matched an all-time league record for goals in a season).
- San Jose has 10 goals this year in added time. If I had not seen so many of them, I’d swear that was a completely made-up stat.
- Barring something unforeseen, big, commanding San Jose center back Victor Bernardez soon add “MLS Defender of the Year” to his resume. Ahead of him in San Jose’s 4-4-2, Sam Cronin and Rafael Baca have been quietly, consistently strong in the center of Buck Shaw’s field.
- The Earthquakes will host MLS Cup (most likely at Stanford Stadium) if they get through Wednesday and survive the next round.
- The Earthquakes were 3-0-1 against the Galaxy in 2012, including Sunday’s victory at the Home Depot Center. In a year of memorable Earthquakes rallies, tops among them was overcome two-goal deficit back against Los Angeles back in May, prevailing 3-2 at the Home Depot Center.
- If you’re picking a goal scorer, Alan Gordon might not be a bad way to go. He has three in four matches against his former club.
- The Earthquakes’ 72 goals was easily a club record, easily most in MLS this year and No. 3 in league history.
- San Jose went undefeated (9-0-6) are at Buck Shaw this season.
On the Los Angeles Galaxy
- Fair question: Given the Galaxy’s uphill climb, and given the recent injuries to 37-year-old David Beckham, are we about to see soccer’s most iconic figure over the last 15 years play his last match in MLS?
- Beckham over the last couple of matches? Meh. Ditto for Landon Donovan. (In fairness, both are coming off injuries or currently fighting one.)
- No matter what happens, you have to admire the Galaxy pluck for rallying past that gawd-awful two months to open 2012.
- Center back Omar Gonzalez may not have been at his tip-top best Sunday, and that boo-boo in the wall in the critical moment is one he’ll want to forget about. On the other hand, he’s doing a lot of extra covering in the middle of the Galaxy back line for rookie Tommy Meyer.
- If the Galaxy can come up with something special, surely Robbie Keane will have something to do with it. The league’s fourth leading scorer (16 goals) really put on a clinic of off-the-ball movement over the regular season’s final two months.
- Galaxy midfielder Mike Magee (courtesy of the L.A. Galaxy’s official blog): “When you look at the big picture, you realize that it’s just one game and we have to win and if we win the game then our season is not over. If you told us that ten games into the season, I think we would have taken it, which is all that really matters. We’ve played well [at Buck Shaw], we haven’t gotten the results that we wanted to, but we’ve played well there and like I said, all we got to do is win the game, which is something that we’re more than capable of doing.”
Bernardez’s implausible goal in the dying minutes of Sunday’s series opener really was massive.
Given the deficit and the Galaxy’s deflated attack over the last two matches, not to mention the additional rest for San Jose lately, it’s hard to see a way through here for the Galaxy.
Jan 31, 2015, 11:20 PM EST
Diego Costa has again claimed his own innocence. And you know what? I believe that he believes he’s done nothing wrong.
Jan 31, 2015, 10:43 PM EST
Big Sam was quick to take the credit away from Liverpool and place the blame for Saturday’s loss on his own injury “crisis.”
Jan 31, 2015, 9:24 PM EST
Van Gaal remembers what happened last time his side led Leicester, and he learns his lessons the first time.
Jan 31, 2015, 8:30 PM EST
All of the day’s confirmed, officially official transfer dealings from Saturday, Jan. 31.
Jan 31, 2015, 7:27 PM EST
The actual games took a backseat to shenanigans as two of four semifinals places were booked on Saturday.
Jan 31, 2015, 5:45 PM EST
All of Saturday’s action from Spain and Italy.
Jan 31, 2015, 4:57 PM EST
Arsenal and Southampton hope to keep their assaults on the Top Four in order, while Aston Villa and Swansea City hope to snap skids.
Jan 31, 2015, 4:19 PM EST
And to think, we’ve still a pair of Sunday matches on the slate. Let’s go through what’s done and dusted.
Jan 31, 2015, 3:40 PM EST
There were eight games in the PL on a busy Saturday. Here’s how it all went down with recaps, analysis and much more.
Jan 31, 2015, 3:20 PM EST
Manchester City’s boss thought his charges were very good, but is disappointed to snare a solitary point against Chelsea.
Jan 31, 2015, 3:12 PM EST
Lampard was the last player on the pitch, saluting both groups of supporters.
Jan 31, 2015, 3:06 PM EST
What did we learn from the tense draw at Stamford Bridge? Here’s three things.
Jan 31, 2015, 2:47 PM EST
Giving Chelsea and City’s players a mark out of 10.
Jan 31, 2015, 2:21 PM EST
All the goal scoring came within the 41st and 45th minutes at Stamford Bridge, as City failed to cut into Chelsea’s first-place advantage.
Jan 31, 2015, 2:00 PM EST
Want to see Benzema’s brilliant bender? Of course you do.
Jan 31, 2015, 1:40 PM EST
Blind believes United are getting close to what LVG expects.
Jan 31, 2015, 1:21 PM EST
It started off slow and tentative, but the big match between Chelsea and Manchester City is opening up
Jan 31, 2015, 1:04 PM EST
Moyesy is learning Spanish from a Manchester United fan…
Jan 31, 2015, 12:50 PM EST
For the Toffees, defense is the way forward for the rest of the season.
Jan 31, 2015, 12:33 PM EST
“It’s always difficult to be honest when you’ve had a long break,” Defoe said. “But I’ve had a mini-pre-season and I’m getting sharper and sharper.”
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