San Jose Earthquakes vs. LA Galaxy | 2017 MLS Match Preview
San Jose Earthquakes vs. LA Galaxy
2017 MLS Regular Season
Stanford Stadium – Stanford, California
Saturday, July 1 – 10:30 pm ET
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Cali Clasico memories are made at Stanford Stadium. Both the San Jose Earthquakes and LA Galaxy hope they'll be the ones banking moments to celebrate on Saturday night when the two rivals meet in front of what's expected to be a crowd of close to 50,000 fans.
There's plenty at stake for both sides, with the home team still dealing with the aftermath of a coaching move and the visitors missing stars due to international duty and injury. The Galaxy won the previous meeting this year, 4-2 at Avaya Stadium on May 27.
Earthquakes GM Jesse Fioranelli made headlines early in the week by parting ways with long-time head coach Dom Kinnear and assistant coach John Spencer, installing technical director Chris Leitch as head coach without an interim tag, a role he'd never held at any professional level. It worked in the Open Cup, but the stakes will be considerably higher on Saturday night as San Jose look to establish their new identity and move past their archrivals in the standings.
An while the Galaxy is unbeaten in the last four iterations of the Cali Classico (2W-2D), they'll have to win on the road without Giovani dos Santos and Gyasi Zardes, who are with Mexico and the United States, respectively. Still, Romain Alessandrini and Jelle Van Damme are ready to lead LA to their league-leading sixth away win of the season.
San Jose Earthquakes
A new era in San Jose begins on Saturday night as Chris Leitch makes his MLS head coaching debut following a 2-1 win against the Seattle Sounders in US Open Cup play midweek. He'll do so on the heels of an emotional week for the club, but one GM Jesse Fioranelli felt necessary to take San Jose in the direction he promised when he was hired in January.
“In the last two months, I had grown increasingly concerned,” Fioranelli told the San Francisco Chronicle. “This gives us a chance to redirect things while we still have time this season.”
“The job given to me was to redirect the ship,” he added. “We will invest in change. Have a more courageous identity. Create bridges internationally.”
And might that new direction result in a win against the Quakes archrivals? Leitch is hopeful, but didn't reveal how he might go about doing it after trotting out a 3-5-2 formation with an attacking flare in the US Open Cup on Wednesday.
“We don’t want to tell LA everything," Leitch said. "We’ll see.”
San Jose will have to overcome the absences of Darwin Ceren and Marco Urena, who are both with their respective national teams ahead of the Gold Cup.
- Suspended: Nick Lima (Red card)
- Suspended next yellow card: M Anibal Godoy
- Int’l Duty: F Marco Urena (Costa Rica), M Darwin Ceren (El Salvador)
- Injury Report: OUT — F Quincy Amarikwa (knee surgery), D Marvell Wynne (heart abnormality), M Marc Pelosi (left knee injury), D Harold Cummings (leg surgery), M Fatai Alashe (knee surgery); QUESTIONABLE — D Florian Jungwirth (ankle injury), M - Simon Dawkins (knee injury)
Projected Starting Lineup (4-3-3), right to left: David Bingham – Cordell Cato, Victor Bernardez, Andres Imperiale, Kip Colvey – Jackson Yueill, Anibal Godoy, Jahmir Hyka – Danny Hoesen, Tommy Thompson, Chris Wondolowski
Notes: San Jose have only lost once in their last 11 regular season home matches (5W-5D) and they have kept four clean sheets on that run. The one loss was to the Galaxy earlier this season.
They may be missing a handful of key players, but LA have plenty of reasons to believe they can go to Stanford and shock the Quakes. The biggest is their incredible road form. The Galaxy are unbeaten their last five away games (4W-1D).
They also get up for the Clasico, keeping San Jose out of the win column in the last four meetings between the two teams.
“It’s a Clasico,” head coach Curt Onalfo told LAGalaxy.com, “and any time you play a Clasico the emotion is enormous. Obviously it’s two teams that don’t like each other that much. I think we saw it last game with little chippy plays, remember with [San Jose’s Chris] Wondolowski and Giovani dos Santos. I think those (plays) don’t necessarily come out in the other games, so there will be a little added emotion.”
You don't have to remind Van Damme about that added emotion. He savors it.
“It’s more intense. That’s what I like,” he said, “as long as it stays a respectful way. It crosses the line, that’s wrong. Soccer is all about emotion. I like rivalry games, all over the world.”
- Suspended: Nathan Smith (Disciplinary Committee decision)
- Suspended next yellow card: None
- Int’l Duty: F Gyasi Zardes (United States), F Giovani Dos Santos (Mexico)
- Injury Report: OUT — DF Robbie Rogers (left ankle - season-ending injury), MF Sebastian Lletget (foot), MF Baggio Husidic (left fibula fracture); QUESTIONABLE — DF Daniel Steres (right hamstring injury), GK Brian Rowe (groin injury), D - Bradley Diallo (hamstring injury), MF Jermaine Jones (grade 2 right knee MCL sprain)
Projected Starting Lineup (4-2-3-1, left to right): Clement Diop — Ashley Cole, Dave Romney, Jelle Van Damme, Bradley Diallo — Joao Pedro, Rafael Garcia — Emmanuel Boateng, Romain Alessandrini, Bradford Jamieson IV — Jack McBean
Notes: Romain Alessandrini has 15 combined goals and assists. Only three other players have more combined goals and assists so far this season. His seven assists are tied for the third-most in the league.
- Overall: San Jose 20 wins (84 goals), LA 29 wins (100 goals), 14 draws
- At San Jose: San Jose 15 wins (48 goals), LA 10 wins (41 goals), 8 draws
Referee: Allen Chapman
Assistant Referees: Cameron Blanchard, Kyle Adkins
Fourth Official: Daniel Radford