Nov 6, 2012, 4:35 PM EDT
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.
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Everton manager Roberto Martinez laments loss to Crystal Palace, saying that his squad lost its drive for victory.
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One England international paid respects to another as a legend scored an emotional goal for his new team against his old.
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Sep 21, 2014, 12:57 PM EDT
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Sep 21, 2014, 12:55 PM EDT
Everton started early and saw much of the ball but Crystal Palace got a few breaks and took advantage to pick up their first win of the season.
Sep 21, 2014, 11:21 AM EDT
Mario Balotelli put an LOL up on Twitter at Manchester United’s expense, and subjected himself to some horrible racial abuse.
Sep 21, 2014, 10:57 AM EDT
Despite heavy defeat, United’s new attacker scores goal of the season contender.
Sep 21, 2014, 10:51 AM EDT
Everton has sewn the seeds for a good run of form and are hoping to build on recent success against a struggling Palace squad.
Sep 21, 2014, 10:42 AM EDT
Diego Costa hsa been in fantastic form to begin his Premier League career, and has the chance to fire Chelsea five points clear at the top of the table.
Sep 21, 2014, 10:26 AM EDT
Manchester United were left shell-shocked after blowing a 3-1 lead against Premier League minnows.
Sep 21, 2014, 10:22 AM EDT
Spurs offered little as James Morrison propelled West Brom off the bottom of the table.
Sep 21, 2014, 9:33 AM EDT
Championship side Leeds is dipping into Eastern Europe to find their new manager.
Sep 21, 2014, 8:53 AM EDT
King Power Stadium is bursting with attacking skill as three goals have come within the opening 20 minutes.
Sep 21, 2014, 8:07 AM EDT
Mauricio Pochettino has to navigate a pair of fixtures in four days thanks to the Europa League, and will look to avoid the first defeat to West Brom at White Hart Lane in 30 years.
Sep 21, 2014, 7:48 AM EDT
Radamel Falcao makes his first start for Manchester United who look to build on a strong win last weekend.
Sep 21, 2014, 7:25 AM EDT
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Sep 21, 2014, 12:49 AM EDT
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