MLS Thursday Preview: California Clasico

MLS Thursday Preview: California Clasico

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On July 22, 2010
  • Thursday Preview

Landon Donovan and the Galaxy host San Jose tonight. (Getty Images)

For the first time in a few years, the league’s first big rivalry between the San Jose Earthquakes and the LA Galaxy actually has a little meaning to it. The last couple years its been all LA as the Quakes haven’t quite been the same since coming back into the league as an expansion club.

Tonight the two square off in the first meeting of the California Clasio of 2010 at the Home Depot Center. LA sits atop the league standings with an amazing 39 points through 17 games while the Quakes aren’t too far off the pace getting 22 points out of 14 games. The gulf in class seems a lot but this game will still have plenty of meaning and intensity. San Jose sees this game as one to move up the standings with and to get some points off the mighty Galaxy.

Going on the road won’t be easy for the Quakes, they haven’t done well against LA in the Home Depot Center in the past (only one victory in LA since 2001). Finding ways to lock down both Edson Buddle and Landon Donovan will be a challenge for the Quakes. Its one that most teams have yet to figure out so far this season. Minimizing their chances and space with the ball will go a long way in getting three big road points tonight.

LA on the other hand need to stay head of the game and keep a watchful eye on rookie Ike Opara in set piece situations,¬†especially¬†corner kicks. Sean Franklin and Omar Gonzalez will have their hands full with Bobby Convey and Chris Wondolowski too. I’d expect the Galaxy defensive duo to get the best of those matchups though tonight.

I like the Galaxy in this one but it will be tightly played and probably a good bit physical. Bruce Arena’s bunch has a busy slate ahead of them with the CONCACAF Champions League so it will be interesting to see how he starts to juggle his lineups. Still I like the Galaxy tonight with Donovan continuing his impressive form.

Player to watch out for: Edson Buddle – He got back to his scoring ways last weekend in D.C., can he continue to set the league pace in goals?

WVH Prediction: LA 2, San Jose 1