If it feels like the Galaxy games just keep coming, you’re not alone. And as they get ready to renew their rivalry with the San Jose Earthquakes this weekend (Saturday, July 1st, 2017) you can’t help but feel this game couldn’t come at a worse time.
If you go back to their 0-0 draw with DC United on Saturday, June 3rd, and carry it through their mid-month friendly with Manchester United on Saturday, July 15th – a span of 42 days – the Galaxy will have played and needed to play in 10 games. Or, one game every 4.2 days. That’s a tough stretch and one that has, and definitely will, continue to test the depth of an injury-plagued team.
The Galaxy are coming off a midweek 2-0 win in the US Open Cup over Sacramento Republic and are looking to get back into MLS play to rectify their 2-1 home defeat to Sporting KC last weekend. On the year the club is 6-6-4 through 16 games played and sit in 6th place in the Western Conference – just a single point behind their weekend opponents.
The Earthquakes are also coming off a midweek Open Cup win as they defeated the Seattle Sounders 2-1. And as luck would have it, the Galaxy and San Jose will face off against each other on Monday, July 10th at Avaya Stadium to determine who will advance to the semi-finals.
- Game Info: Saturday, July 1st, 2017 at 7:30 PM
- Venue: Standford Stadium, Palo Alto, CA
- TV Info: Univision
They were also victorious last weekend when they beat visiting Real Salt Lake 2-1 and subsequently fired their head coach, Dominic Kinnear, and assistant coach, John Spencer. Kinnear was replaced on a full-time basis with Chris Leitch. Meaning the Galaxy will have more of a question mark on their hands than they probably expected.
“Whenever there’s change we can’t get inside their heads and what they want to do,” Galaxy head coach Curt Onalfo told reporters after training. “We know they played a 3-5-2 in their last lineup. It’s 11 players against 11 players. They’re a good team, they have very good attacking and are solid all the way through.
The Earthquakes are 6-6-5 on the season having played one more game than the Galaxy (17 GP) and are in front of their SoCal rivals by a single point. They currently sit fifth in the Wester Conference.
These teams faced off earlier this year when the Galaxy traveled to Avaya Stadium and soundly beat the Earthquakes by a score of 4-2. The Galaxy got goals from Dos Santos and Pedro and rather easily crushed the ‘Quakes without too much trouble. That win was their first ever at Avaya Stadium and only their second win in Northern California in their last 14 trips.
Overall the Galaxy are 30-20-14 against the ‘Quakes but are 11-15-8 when playing away from home.
LA GALAXY LINEUP
The Galaxy are expecting to be shorthanded again as most injured players aren’t quite ready to come back to the field. Onalfo ruled Daniel Steres and Jermaine Jones out for this game, however, there is a chance that Bradley Diallo (Hamstring Injury) could be ready to come back in some capacity for the defense. Hopefully as a starter.
With Nathan Smith suspended (Onalfo told reporters after the US Open Cup game) for a bad tackle on Benny Feilhaber in last weekend’s game, and the likelihood that Ashley Cole won’t play over the weekend either (tired legs or some undisclosed injury), the Galaxy will need all the defensive help they can get.
In all likelihood, last weekend’s heel, Clement Diop, will be given another chance in goal against the Earthquakes. And while many people are clamoring for him to be replaced by Jon Kempin, something still tells us that it’s going to be Diop. Perhaps for the last time if his form doesn’t improve drastically.
But don’t be surprised if Onalfo chooses to slot Alessandrini underneath McBean and bring Bradford Jamieson IV into the starting lineup. His play has been outstanding in recent weeks – scoring a goal in the Open Cup game – and the Galaxy could use his speed all over the field. Even if it’s only as a substitute, he’s going to see minutes in this game.
As with any rivalry game, the emotions are going to be ratcheted up to about eleven. With more than 50,000 tickets already sold and the game taking place at Stanford Stadium, it’s sure to be a heated environment perfect for a tired Galaxy team to take advantage of. After all, if your legs are tired, it’s nice to have tens of thousands of people booing and screaming at you. It gets the blood flowing.
“These are kinds of games I like to play. I’ve heard there’s going to be a good crowd. It will be fun,” Van Damme said, speaking after training on Thursday. “Yes, more intense. That’s what I like. As long as it stays a respectful way… Soccer is all about emotions.”
And emotional, motivating, intense games can also be some of the most enjoyable. But for the Galaxy, it’s more important they continue to add to their league-best road record (5-2-1) because they haven’t been able to get anything to go their way at home.
“It’s a Clasico,” Onalfo repeated. “And any time you play a Clasico the emotion is enormous. There’s going to be a good crowd. It’s a game where you are going to roll up your sleeves, fight and put your best game out.”