The Quakes won at Stanford 3-1. The Gals won at Stub hub 5-2. The rubber-match is tonight at Avaya, with valuable playoff points on the line.
The Gals are playing like a team possessed. They lead the league in points (46), goal differential (+17), and total goals scored (49). They have 2014 MVP Robbie Keane, currently in third in total goals with 15, emerging superstar (and local product) Sebastian Lletget who has seven goals in 13 games, and USMNT vets Gyassi Zardes, Omar Gonzalez, and Edson Buddle. Former Quakes Dan Gargan and Alan Gordon have been staples in the Galaxy lineups. And they have a plethora of international talent: Giovani Dos Santos, Juninho, Leonardo, and Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard.
The Quakes should have their regular line-up–minus Jordan Stewart–as newly acquired Panamanian defender Anibal Godoy is slated to leave after the Galaxy match. MPG should be back to 100% as well, which leaves a few questions for many Quakes fans . . .
It will be interesting to see what the starting formation will be. Dom Kinnear had to play without Matias Perez Garcia for the past two matches, of which the Quakes defeated arguably two of the top teams on the road. Will Dom put MPG back in the line-up, and if so, will he play a CAM roll or possibly take Cordell Cato’s spot at the right-wing midfield position? My guess is that Dom will keep the double-pivot with Alashe and Godoy, put MPG on the right wing and Shea on the left wing, with Wondo and Amarikwa up top. I think Shaun Francis continues to get the start at left-back, but I would not be surprised to see Cordell start over Francis as he has more pace to deal with the potent offense L.A. brings to the table.
If the past two games have demonstrated anything, it’s that Wondo plays better when he’s not tasked with being the outlet player on defense. Godoy has been able to excel in that position, allowing Wondo more freedom up top, resulting in nine shots and three goals in two games. Quincy Amarikwa has also had a surprising season, and might be the downfall of Chicago Fire Head Coach, Soccer Director, and former Quakes Head Coach Frank Yallop.
Final Score Prediction
The Quakes have one significant stat in their favor: the Gals have an abysmal road-goal differential of -10. If the Quakes can use home-field to their advantage and keep playing lock-down defense, they might be able to hold the Gals to less than six shots on goal, and limit L.A.’s offense to a 0-2 goal performance. However, as the season comes to a close and playoffs draw near, I think L.A. is well-aware of their road-record, hence I would not be surprised if L.A. comes out swinging and scores an early goal to stop the shut-out streak and put the Quakes on the ropes early in the match. Based purely upon the stats and personnel, I think the Quakes should score a few of their own, so I am predicting a 2-2 draw. If Shaun Francis starts, I’m predicting a 4-2 Galaxy win.
Game time: 8pm. Come early, support the team, and let’s get a win!!!