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This match clearly means a lot more to the Los Angeles Galaxy than it does to San Jose Earthquakes. With just three games to go for both sides, Los Angeles Galaxy have to cement that playoffs spot and San Jose Earthquakes are not going to make it, as they’re currently sitting in last place on the Western Conference standings.
Historically, Los Angeles Galaxy have got the edge over San Jose – which, to be fair, is almost always the case in head-to-heads for the five-time MLS champions. They’ve won 13, lost eight and drawn five in their meetings with San Jose and will desperately hope that it helps them here because a loss could be fatal. Los Angeles are clearly the better team and have a lot more to play for. It’ll be a massive surprise if they don’t come out of this tie with all three points.
This last match between the two sides was a great watch and took place in July with San Jose Earthquakes winning 3-2 on the day. The game looked all but over in the first half thanks to goals from Cristian Espinoza, Jeremy Ebobisse and Marcos Lopez which gave the San Jose Earthquakes a 3-0 lead. But Los Angeles Galaxy fought back well to score right after the break thanks to Dejan Jovelcic. The Serbian would get on the scoresheet again in the 88th minute but the goal came a bit too late.
By the end of the 90 minutes and added time, Los Angeles Galaxy had 53% of the possession and 24 shots on San Jose’s goal with 11 on target. They conceded 11 shots with five on target. It wasn’t enough to get a point but LA Galaxy were doing more than just knocking on the door – they looked like they were about to break it down. If they can put in another second half like that, they should come out of this match with all three points.
San Jose Earthquakes and FC Dallas played out a stalemate over the weekend. FC Dallas got things moving after Jáder Rafael O’brien found the net in the 16th minute but they conceded a penalty a few minutes later.
Jeremy Ebobisse, one of the shining lights in a difficult season for FC Dallas, scored from the spot to equalize. Paul Arriola was handed a red card in the 83rd minute of the game but there wasn’t enough time for San Jose to capitalize on FC Dallas going a man down.
There isn’t much that the San Jose Earthquakes can do now with three games left for their season to end, but they need to make sure that they hold on to Jeremy Ebobisse next season. The 25-year-old has scored 16 goals this season for an ailing side. His numbers are up there with some of the best forwards in the league.
He’s also scoring at a very sustainable rate with 14.8 expected goals for the season. He’d definitely have been in the running for the golden boot at another side. The San Jose Earthquakes have got one of the top forwards in the league. They only need two or three players in the midfield or backline with a defense-first approach to step up a few levels.
Despite having a disappointing season, San Jose have scored quite a lot of goals and they don’t have any reason to stop doing that in the upcoming games. It might almost be a bit freeing to play with nothing to lose but that doesn’t mean they should give cheap goals away. They have to still compete and you can’t get away without competing no matter what the situation around the club is, especially at home. There are a lot of loyal fans who go to the games week in and week out and they need to put on a show for them because of all the support that they’ve provided during a difficult season.
LA Galaxy finally put in a proper performance on the weekend, beating the Colorado Rapids 4-1. Three first half goals and Gaston Brugman’s second in 52nd minute gave LA Galaxy a 4-0 lead before a Douglas Costa red card in the 62nd minute killed some of their momentum. Sam Nicholson got one back for the Colorado Rapids towards the end. It was a great performance all round from LA Galaxy after struggling to rack up wins prior to the game.
Even when they’re playing well, they seem to shoot themselves in the foot. Douglas Costa’s red card was unnecessary and they’ll now lose him for a very important tie. In recent weeks, Javier Hernandez has also missed some penalties, making qualification for the playoffs that much harder. There’s clearly a lot of talent in this squad and they have a history in this competition but there seems to be a real lack of focus at times. If they can handle that, they should be fine for now but these sorts of mistakes get punished in the playoffs and they’ll have to iron that out.
Javier Hernandez has missed some penalties recently but he’s also found some form, netting his 15th of the season in the match against the Colorado Rapids. The rise in form seems to have coincided with Riqui Puig’s arrival. The team now seems to be controlling games a bit better. Hernandez has never been the most clinical of strikers but he’s always had an eye for a goal. His misses aren’t affecting the team as badly as they did earlier in the season because they’re having even more of the ball and looking dangerous when they have it.
The two players have got experience at the highest level. Puig brings some young energy alongside that as well. If the two of them keep up the levels from recent weeks, LA Galaxy could beat any team in the league.
|Teams||San Jose Earthquakes vs Los Angeles Galaxy|
|Time||Saturday, 24 September at 10 pm ET onwards|
|How to watch||ESPN+, NBC Sports California and Spectrum SportsNet|
Varun is a web journalist who has been writing on sports for 13 years. He took a shine for the MLS during the 2021 season and has been following it and writing about it since, alongside his work involving the English Premier League, La Liga, and the Serie A. He is deeply interested in soccer analytics and strategy and has aspirations to move into coaching at some point. Email: [email protected]More info on Varun Shetty
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