The Los Angeles Galaxy finally got a full week off between games as they travel North to renew hostilities with the San Jose Earthquakes in the 97th California Clásico on Saturday, July 1. Nothing less than three points will do, as supporters will deem a Cali Clásico win vital, not just for bragging rights, but for LA’s fledgling playoff hopes. After a pair of draws, including a scoreless affair in Colorado, the Galaxy will enter rivalry week shorthanded after waiving Defender Sega Coulibaly on June 30. With injuries and absences because of international play as roadblocks, the Galaxy still needs to find a way to start making moves up the Western Conference Table.
LA Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes at Stanford Stadium
LA Galaxy’s Current Run of Form
The Galaxy is riding a four-game unbeaten run into the Cali Clásico. Many of the same problems from early in the season still exist, but halfway into the season, somehow the Galaxy is getting results. Kind of.
Their four-match unbeaten run includes three straight draws, and for a team one point off last place, it simply won’t do. This is good enough for 13th place, a 3-6-9 record, and 15 points accumulated. Their -13 goal difference in 18 games played highlights one of their greatest weaknesses this year, the inability to put the ball in the back of the net. Forwards Dejan Joveljic and Preston Judd will both be champing at the bit to start the Clásico and prove they can lead the line.
If the Galaxy offense is faltering, the defense is crumbling. Head Coach Greg Vanney has a crisis all of a sudden after injuries to Martin Cáceres and having Eriq Zavaleta and Jalen Neal missing through injury. And after losing another center back in Coulibaly, Defender Chris Mavinga will be wondering just who will partner him in the backline. After two strong showing on his return from injury, the Galaxy is putting a massive weight on his shoulders.
San Jose Earthquakes Current Run of Form
San Jose has a 7-7-6 record with 27 points and is tied for fifth place and 27 points in 20 games played. But that’s mostly off the strength of a strong start to the MLS season. They’ve hit a skid of late and are winless in their last three matches. Worse still, they have only won two of their last nine games.
MLS.com called the Earthquakes “one of the most frustrating teams in the league,” after their recent 4-1 loss against Houston and their 2-1 defeat to St Louis City, who were missing several starters. But star man Cristian Espinoza is always dangerous and can single-handily turn a match. His eight goals and six assists make him the league leader in big chances created. Throw in Jeremy Ebobisse with his seven goals, and you have a strike force capable of hurting the Galaxy’s weakened defense.
The Galaxy won the last Cali Clásico 2-1 for their first home win of the year in May. Before that, they won the crown of Kings of California with a 3-2 away win over San Jose. San Jose took the two matches before that, and that’s been the pattern. A team will win two games and then their rival will take their crown. It’s been that way since September 2020.
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) June 28, 2023
LA Galaxy vs. Earthquakes Prediction
A shorthanded Galaxy, on the road where they haven’t done well all year, against their rival. What’s not to like? However, the Galaxy is finding its form and the Earthquakes aren’t having their best moment. Combine that with the magic of the Cali Clásico, where form or outside factors seldom matter, and the Galaxy could steal it. If the Galaxy has a player step up, a Douglas Costa or Riqui Puig, LA could steal this one against San Jose.
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