California Clasico Preview: Three Things To Watch For

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California Classico Preview
June 28, 2015 - San Jose Earthquakes Goalkeeper David Bingham (1) prepares for a goal kick during the second half of play between the San Jose Earthquakes and the LA Galaxy at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, Ca. (Getty Images/Sportswire Icon)

Editorial (July 1, 2017) – The San Jose Earthquakes host the LA Galaxy at Stanford Stadium tonight in one of the biggest matches of the year. 50,000 fans are expected for the second Cali Clasico of the year. The Galaxy won the first on the road 4-2.

California Clasico Preview: Three Things To Watch For

Both teams are coming off midweek games in which they on won at home in the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Coincidentally, they will play eachother in the Quarterfinal later this month. With both teams on short rest, here are three things to watch for:

Galaxy Lineup: Young Guns And Walking Wounded:

The Galaxy have been strugging with lineup turnover from game to game recently. The club has been battered with injuries and Manager Curt Onalfo had had to rotate players out with midweek action the last three weeks. They’ve gotten some good results though. Jack McBean and Jose Villarreal are starting to fulfill their potential. Bradford Jaimeson IV and Ariel Lassiter both scored against Sacramento Republic FC. The big names might not all be there, but the kids are alright.

Los Angeles have four potential starters listed as questionable this week. Goalkeeper Brian Rowe could be able to start for the struggling Clement Diop. Daniel Steres and Bradley Diallo are on the mend. With Nathan Smith suspended for this game, Onalfo could have to make a tough decision if Diallo cannot go. Jermaine Jones is also approaching his eight week out. Onalfo could need him just to have a healthy body in midfield.

Who starts for the Galaxy? Will Onalfo go with some players coming off injury or trust the young guns? We’ll have to wait and see.

New Coach: New Look Quakes:

The Quakes parted ways with Head Coach Dom Kinnear this past weekend. Chris Leitch takes over for the team and it looks like he has some different ideas. #DomBall wasn’t always pretty and hadn’t worked the past few years for the club. Leitch comes in and could have a style of play that fits the roster and what General Manager Jesse Fioranelli.

Leitch made his debut on Wednesday in the Open Cup game against the Seattle Sounders. The Quakes won against a 10-man Seattle team with a reserve side. Leitch had the team in a 3-5-2. How does he play against the Galaxy in the biggest home game of the year? Do some players get an unexpected start? We’ll have to wait and see.

Stanford Stadium: Stoppage Time Madness:

Yes, it’s cliche, but it’s still a big deal. As long as Chris Wondolowski is still on San Jose, the Goonies spirit will live on. These Stanford Stadium matches have historically been back-and-forth affairs. They historically have late game drama. Expect that to be a factor, especially if it is tied or if the Galaxy are up a goal come the 80th minute.

These crowds have galvanized San Jose in year’s past. The historical Goonies of the past are gone though, other than Wondo. Stephen Lenhart and Alan Gordon are gone. So is Sam Cronin, who had a big goal in this game a few years ago. Do the Quakes still have some late magic? Who could be the hero for them? We’ll have to wait and see.

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