The LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes are set to kick off an early season edition of the California Clasico, the Galaxy's original rivalry. While put on hiatus for three years while the Quakes were defunct, things have heated up in recent meetings with 2010 Golden Boot winner Chris Wondolowski catching fire and a memorable match in San Jose last year. LA will be without both their captain and their vice captain.
San Jose has been defined by late in the match greatness, which is a tribute both to the team's fitness and the subs available off the bench. The Quakes have scored five goals in the 88' or later, with twelve of the club's 23 goals on the season coming after the 60th minute. By contrast, the Galaxy have only scored 12 goals all year.
Speaking of substitutes, the Quakes are going to need someone to step up with MLS goal leader Chris Wondolowski called up to United States national team duty. Wondolowski's 11 goals have him one goal in front of Kenny Cooper for the Golden Boot lead.
The Galaxy will also be without some stars, as Landon Donovan has joined the United States as well in Florida and Robbie Keane has joined the Ireland camp as they prepare for the UEFA European Championship. Together, they have scored five of the Galaxy's 12 goals.
Historical records have been fairly meaningless in Galaxy matches so far this season. The New England Revolution and Chivas USA both achieved victories that flew in the face of historical trends. Still, since returning to the league, the Earthquakes have not won at The Home Depot Center. The last time San Jose won in Carson was in 2005.
One thing is almost certain, former Galaxy player Alan Gordon is likely to factor into this match. He has a penchant for scoring against his old teams, scoring against the Galaxy last year as a member of Toronto FC. In two consecutive matches, Gordon has scored late with his 90' goal against Columbus last week giving San Jose a 1-1 draw.
LA is currently at the bottom of the Western conference table, after getting just two points from their last five matches. The Quakes have managed to pull eight points from their last five matches, falling slightly behind the pace being set by Real Salt Lake, Seattle Sounders FC, and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
For more on this match, check out LAG Confidential.