Pregame Notes: Passion ramped up for Playoff Edition of California Clasico
LA GALAXY vs SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
Sun., Nov. 4, The Home Depot Center (9 pm ET/6 pm PT; ESPN/Deportes, TSN2, RDS2)
REFEREE: Ricardo Salazar.
AR1 (bench): Corey Rockwell; AR2 (opposite): Peter Manikowski;
4th: Antonio Villarreal
INJURY REPORT: LA -- OUT: DF A.J. DeLaGarza (L knee sprain); DF Leonardo (R knee inflammation); MF Kyle Nakazawa (back spasms); QUESTIONABLE: DF Sean Franklin (L hamstring tightness); DF David Junior Lopes (facial fracture); MF Christian Wilhelmsson (R quad tightness) ... SJ -- OUT: MF Mehdi Ballouchy (L knee ACL tear); MF Jacob Hustedt (L ankle surgery); DF Tim Ward (L non-specific soft tissue injury); QUESTIONABLE: FW Alan Gordon (R ankle sprain); PROBABLE: MF Cesar Diaz Pizarro (R groin strain); Simon Dawkins (R ankle sprain)
WARNINGS: LA: Juninho; Marcelo Sarvas (suspended next yellow card)
SJ 17 wins (1 SO), 69 goals Ö LA 25 wins (4 SO), 80 goals Ö Ties 9
2012 HEAD-TO-HEAD: SJ 1 win, 9 GF; LA 0 wins, 7 GF; 2 ties
AT THE HOME DEPOT CENTER:
6/30: SJ 4, LA 3 (Lenhart 7; Bernardez 44; Cronin 47; Wondolowski 61 ñ Beckham 31; own goal 36; Donovan 41)
MLS CUP PLAYOFFS: SJ 3 wins, 10 GF; LA 4 wins, 13 GF; 1 tie
- The Galaxy will now play their northern rivals in the Western Conference semifinals, a team they've faced four times in the postseason, including a 2003 meeting that was perhaps the greatest playoff series in league history.
- "It's a team we played really well this year actually. We were up two goals in the first two games and ended up losing; we're up a goal twice in the third game and ended up tying," said Landon Donovan. "That was a little bit the story of their season and if we can play them well again and learn from those lessons and use our experience then we feel we have a chance in this series."
- Mike Magee continued his remarkable run of form in the MLS Cup Playoffs. A year ago, he scored in each of the Galaxy's first three playoff matches.
- "He's a type of player that shines in moments like this,î Donovan said. "There's something special about players like that. A lot of guys do it when games don't matter, or theyíll score the third goal in a 3-0 win that doesn't matter, but Mike scores goals that matter. Heís done it consistently since heís been here."
- David Beckham now has an assist in five consecutive postseason matches, recording an assist in every one of LA's four games last year. He has played a part in each one of Mike Magee's playoff goals over the last two seasons. ìThat's what Mike does. He gets in positions," said Beckham. "He's a clever player -- he's a real intelligent player."
- Donovan added to his record tally with postseason goal No. 21, in his 30th career match in the MLS Cup Playoffs. He's scored now in the last four playoff matches for the Galaxy, including the only goal in last year's MLS Cup Final.
- "Weíve got a number of guys that have the experience and know how to play in games like this even if youíre down a goal and I thought our attitude was a lot better in the second half. Determination and just our drive to win the game was real impressive," said Donovan.
- There was one key change in the Galaxy lineup for the knockout match, as Sean Franklin was held out of the team. Hector Jimenez slotted in at right back.
- "Sean was tight from the game Sunday. We actually expect him to be back and we thought if he played tonight we could miss him for the rest of the year in playoffs, so we just made that decision," said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
- The Earthquakes move into the MLS Cup Playoffs riding a nine-game undefeated streak, their longest of the season and the longest for the club since 2008.
- "Have we been playing our best soccer lately? I wouldn't say that," striker Alan Gordon said. "But we haven't been losing. We're not on a bad streak. I think we're all ready to amp up. Momentum's still in our favor."
- For the season, the Quakes ended with 72 goals -- the most by a team in MLS in more than a decade. Nine of those goals came in meetings with their semifinal series opponents in LA.
- "Even though weíre a very dynamic team offensively and we like to be creative and really get after our opponents, we're going to have to hold each other accountable on the defense side of things," defender Jason Hernandez said. "Because if we can't keep the ball out of our net, it's not really going to matter."
- The Galaxy have scored seven goals in those three meetings with San Jose -- one of which the Quakes won with a trademark goal. ìThe conceding of goals is what weíll tighten up,î Yallop said. ìWeíve got to make sure weíre not leaking goals, thatís for sure. Weíre a team that attacks, so the way we play is open. But I think weíve given up some soft goals."
- When Chris Wondolowski won the MLS Golden Boot for the first time in 2010, he added another goal in the postseason as the Quakes upset the New York Red Bulls in the opening round.
- "Everythingís just magnified, in the fact that you have to do all the little things," Wondolowski said. "All these games are so close and come down to mental mistakes or things of that nature. Every set piece, every foul is that much more important."
- The Quakes saw a streak of eight games where they had scored multiple goals come to an end in the season finale in Portland. But while they've outscored opponents 24-11 over their nine-game unbeaten streak, they have reached draws in four of the last six games.
- "Thereís less forgiveness for errors. When you make mistakes, you're punished, and thereís no second chances. Once you're out, you're out," said Gordon. "Everything matters. Every little play, we have to be focused. We have to be completely tuned in as a team, which is what got us here; being a good team."