After two weeks of dedicating itself to World Cup-watching and Open Cup-playing, Major League Soccer is back, ready to continue its nine-match weekend tonight in Palo Alto, Calif. Making one of their rare appearances at Stanford Stadium, Clarence Goodson and the San Jose Earthquakes will welcome Landon Donovan and their Calfornia Cup rivals, the LA Galaxy.
NBCSN will broadcast the match tonight at 10:30 p.m. Eastern, with a free stream available on NBC Sports Live Extra.
Los Angeles visits Northern California with 17 points on the season, five points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. Because of early season scheduling that allowed them to participate in Champions League, the Galaxy have only played 12 games, five fewer than fifth place Vancouver. On points-per-game, Bruce Arena’s side has the fifth-best in the West, but ahead of their meeting with the Earthquakes, LA sits seventh.
San Jose is one point behind its rivals despite playing an extra match and will be without three of its key components. The team’s main attacking threat, Chris Wondolowski, is with the United States in Brazil, while one of the teams best defenders, Victor Bernárdez, is just returning after his time with Honduras. Shea Salinas, San Jose’s main provider, is out, leaving Mark Watson with a hole to fill on the left wing.
Arena’s not without his own concerns, given Omar Gonzalez is still at the World Cup, but the team will have its two best attackers. Landon Donovan, controversially left out of the U.S. national team, will be at the Galaxy’s disposal, while Ireland international Robbie Keane will be the most dangerous man on the field.
In front of what’s always a large crowd at Stanford Stadium, San Jose will be looking to give their fans a three-point welcome back to the MLS regular season. Los Angeles, on the other hand, will try to take advantage of its shorthanded hosts to continue its climb up the Western Conference ladder.
Here are your lineups:
San Jose: Busch; Barklage, Harden, Goodson, Stewart; Cato, Stephenson, Pierazzi, Cronin; Djalo, Lenhart
LA Galaxy: Penedo; Gargan, Opare, Meyer, Rogers; Husidic, Ishizaki, Sarvas, Donovan; Keane, Zardes