Three Points: Galaxy face 'Quakes in Western Conference Semifinals

Insider Adam Serrano's thoughts on what LA need to do to get the win over San Jose

CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano’s Three Points to Sunday’s Western Conference Semifinal against the San Jose Earthquakes

WIN SECOND CHANCE OPPORTUNITIES

Paramount to the San Jose Earthquakes' success this season has been their ability to capitalize on second chance opportunities and then turn them into scoring chances.

For LA to shutdown San Jose on Sunday, they must limit the 'Quakes' ability to take advantage of those chances. During October’s 2-2 draw between the two teams, the Galaxy appeared up to the challenge, using their physical play as well as defensive positioning to contest any potential second ball opportunities for San Jose.

The Galaxy will need more of the same on Sunday, particularly, against San Jose’s talented forward corps of Chris Wondolowski, Steven Lenhart, and Alan Gordon. All three forwards have shown an ability to capitalize on these chances throughout the season, meaning LA’s positioning must be on point from start to finish.

Highlights: LA-SJ 2-2 draw, Oct. 21, 2012

DON’T BREAK CONCENTRATION FOR 90 MINUTES

The LA Galaxy have had success against the San Jose Earthquakes this season, but in three meetings between the two teams, San Jose has roared back due to lapses from LA.

As the Galaxy look to get the series off on a winning start, focus for 90 minutes will be key at The Home Depot Center as San Jose looks to earn a win on the road. In particular, the onus will be on the Galaxy’s defense as brief lapses during set pieces in the match in October caused San Jose to erase a pair of deficits en route to a 2-2 draw.

But what could benefit the Galaxy is their experience in the postseason. Unlike the Earthquakes, who are relatively new to postseason play, the Galaxy are well abreast of what could happen –both in a positive and negative way—during the MLS Cup Playoffs. LA will need to use this experience on Sunday if they are to advance.

FINISH YOUR CHANCES

While a seemingly obvious observation, missed chances have proved the difference for the Galaxy in their three previous matches against the Earthquakes this season.

During last month’s draw at Buck Shaw Stadium in particular, the Galaxy were unable to finish a pair of one-on-one opportunities from Christian Wilhelmsson and Edson Buddle during the first half, which could have given the Earthquakes an even taller order to handle. Although these chances show that LA can unlock the strong San Jose defense, the finishing touch must improve.

With the impetus on them, expect the Galaxy to go at the Earthquakes early, in the hopes of scoring first, something that they did in two of the three regular season meetings. Although San Jose has shown an ability to comeback from deficits time and time again this season, LA must do what they can to get a lead and then build on it as much as possible.

Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com