LA Galaxy vs San Jose Earthquakes: Preview and Prediction

Top-placed LA Galaxy will take on bottom placed side San Jose Earthquakes in the first California Clasico of the season.

The first California Clasico of the MLS season will round of the proceedings this weekend when San Jose Earthquakes travel to the Dignity Health Sports Park  to take on LA Galaxy.

Both sides have enjoyed different spectroscope of success this season. LA Galaxy are top of the Western Conference following their win over the Vancouver Whitecaps last time around, while San Jose are rock bottom, having fallen to a 3-0 defeat to the Colorado Rapids.

Greg Vanney has seen his side turn around a poor start to the campaign as they continue to go from strength to strength. LA Galaxy are currently tied on points with Inter Miami in the Supporters’ Shield standings. A major reason for their success has been the attack, the most proficient in the Western Conference with 17 strikes so far.

However, LA’s defence is still porous, having conceded 12 goals in the meantime. Outgunning the opposition need not always work but the home side have a reasonable shot of keeping their good form going against a struggling San Jose side.

Luchi Gonzalez’s side have now lost three games on the trot and have a mountain to climb if they are serious about salvaging the season. San Jose’s defence has already conceded 20 goals this season, more than any other side in the league. Worryingly for them, 14 of these goals have come in the second half, showcasing an inability to see out games on the front foot.

This is displayed by the fact that San Jose have taken the lead in all four of their away games so far this season, only to end up on the losing side. It is not the form that one would want to take to the Dignity Health Sports Park, an arena where LA Galaxy are yet to taste defeat this year.

Gonzalez can take heart from the fact that his side have beaten LA in two of their last three visits to Dignity Health Sports Park. While this might have come all the way back in 2022, there is a glimmer of hope as long as the visitors keep things tight at the back. Given the defence of both teams, it could turn out to be a shootout where one could try to outscore the other. The Hard Tackle takes a look at how both sides could line up for the game and their tactics.

Team News & Tactics

Los Angeles Galaxy

Eriq Zavaleta and Jalen Neal were sidelined for LA Galaxy’s last match due to a head injury and an abdominal issue, respectively. It remains unlikely that either player will make the playing XI against San Jose Earthquakes.

Emiro Garces has yet to make his debut for LA since joining them on loan from Deportivo Pereira. Mauricio Cuevas made his first regular-season appearance of 2024 last week, coming on as a substitute in the final minutes of the game. Whether he will get his first start remains to be seen.

The 4-3-3 formation is the way forward on the night, with John McCarthy in goal. He should be protected by the back four of Miki Yamane, Edwin Cerrillo, Maya Yoshida, and Julian Aude.

Gaston Brugman should form the midfield pivot, with Marco Delgado and Riqui Puig providing support in the middle of the park. Dejan Joveljic should lead the line, with Joseph Paintsil and Miguel Berry on the flanks.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): McCarthy; Yamane, Cerrillo, Yoshida, Aude; Delgado, Brugman, Puig; Berry, Joveljic, Paintsil

Los Angeles Galaxy vs San Jose Earthquakes: Preview and Prediction.

San Jose Earthquakes

Bruno Wilson injured his knee during warm-ups shortly before the Quakes faced Austin FC and could not play against the Rapids. Daniel is still out with a lower-body injury, and JT Marcinkowski continues his rehab from an ACL tear.

Vitor Costa and Michael Baldisimo were questionable last weekend due to lower-body injuries but did not make the team sheet. They are expected to once again settle for a spot on the bench at best.

San Jose Earthquakes are likely to go in with a 4-3-3 formation of their own, with William Yarbrough in goal. He should be protected by the back four of Carlos Akapo, Rodrigues, Tanner Beason and Paul Marie.

Carlos Gruezo should start at the tip of the midfield, with Jackson Yueill and Niko Tsakiris in support. Jeremy Ebobisse should start at the apex of the attack, with Benji Kikanovic and Cristian Espinoza on either side.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Yarbrough; Akapo, Rodrigues, Beason, Marie; Yueill, Gruezo, Tsakiris; Espinoza, Ebobisse, Kikanovic

Top placed Los Angeles Galaxy will take on bottom placed side San Jose Earthquakes in the first California Clasico of the season.

Key Stats

  • LA Galaxy are the most proficient side in the Western Conference with 17 strikes this season.
  • No other MLS team has conceded as many goals this season as San Jose (20).
  • San Jose Earthquakes have conceded 14 goals in the final 45 minutes of a match this season.
  • A loss on the night will see San Jose Earthquakes lose four games on the spin for the first time since May 2021.
  • San Jose Earthquakes are yet to secure a single point away from home this season.

Player to Watch

Dejan Joveljic

Embed from Getty Images

The 24-year-old should lead the line for LA Galaxy and will aim to mark his niche as the top goalscorer. Joveljic is joint top in the race for the golden boot and has six strikes in eight matches this season.

A difficult customer to mark, the Serb has shown a ruthless edge in front of the goal. With LA Galaxy creating several chances on a regular basis and given San Jose’s poor defence, it will come as a surprise should he fail to find the back of the net.


LA Galaxy 3-1 San Jose Earthquakes

With both defences struggling, the match is poised to be a high-scoring affair. However, LA Galaxy have exhibited stronger defensive resilience lately, coupled with their potent attack. Therefore, a comfortable victory by a two-goal margin seems probable.

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