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Preview: Galaxy vs Earthquakes

The basics

LA Galaxy (12-2-3, 1st place in Western Conference) vs. San Jose Earthquakes (6-4-4, 5th place in West)

Galaxy lead the all-time series at 24-14-6

Broadcast info

TV: 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes

Radio/Audio: ESPN Deportes 1330AM (Los Angeles area), (English)

What's at stake?

The first blow in the 2010 California Clasico. The two teams will meet again in San Jose on Aug. 21, but these longtime rivals will want to draw first blood in this match. For San Jose, the game also represents a chance to move up in the Western Conference table as the Quakes are within three points of third-place Dallas.

Last meeting

The Galaxy were in a logjam near the top of the Western Conference table when lowly San Jose visited The Home Depot Center to close out the 2009 MLS regular season. Bobby Burling didn’t help San Jose’s cause with an own-goal in the 24th minute, and Landon Donovan closed out the Quakes with a 77th-minute goal as the Galaxy won 2-0 and also laid claim to the regular-season conference title.

Heroes & Villains

Bobby Convey vs. Sean Franklin: The Galaxy’s Franklin had perhaps his strongest performance of the season in a 2-1 win over D.C United last weekend. The 2008 Rookie of the Year was responsible for creating both tallies, though Edson Buddle and Donovan got the goals. Convey has also enjoyed a fine campaign and has been whipping balls into his teammates from the left flank. It’s likely neither player will be able to completely shut down the other, so whoever takes advantage of their chances better will help his club.

Chris Wondolowski vs. Gregg Berhalter: Few probably had pegged Buddle as the league’s scoring leader through the first half of the season, but fewer likely had Wondolowski leading the Quakes in goals through the midpoint of the season. “Wondo” has a team-high six goals, though he has’t scored in the last four games and trying to get past Berhalter and central defense partner Omar Gonzalez will be a tough task. Wondolowski is a shifty forward with a knack of being in the right place at the right time and could break his scoreless drought if Berhalter & Co. aren’t careful.

Stat that makes you go "Hmm..."

In 21 all-time trips the Earthquakes have taken to Pasadena/Carson, the Northern Californians have only notched four victories, and only one since 2001.

He said it

“All these games are going to be tough. They’re going to be coming at us fast and we just have to be as ready as we can be.” – Buddle on the Galaxy’s upcoming calendar which, starting Thursday, features five games in 17 days.