The Galaxy pay a visit to the Bay Area for the third time this season. After two league games in which both teams split wins, the rubber match comes by way of the Open Cup quarterfinals.
The Quakes are missing more than a few starters due to the Gold Cup: Marco Urena, Darwin Ceren, and Anibal Godoy, as well as fulltime sub Shaun Francis. The Galaxy are only missing Gyassi Zardes. Advantage: Los Angeles.
Injury-wise, the Quakes are only missing one fulltime starter in Fatai Alashe while the Galaxy are missing a few: Robbie Rogers, Sebastian Lletget, and Baggio Husidic. Advantage: San Jose.
The Galaxy are struggling, having lost three league games in a row, including the Cali Clasico last week at Stanford Stadium, and a 6-2 walloping at home by (then last-place) Real Salt Lake. However, the Galaxy are on the road, which improbably is a blessing for L.A. as their league road record (5-3-1) is night-and-day difference compared to their home record (1-5-3). The Quakes have a slightly better league home record than L.A. at 5-1-4. Slight advantage: San Jose.
With the teams getting into the nitty-gritty of the Open Cup quarterfinals, and experiencing international breaks, both teams should field lineups that give them the best chance of advancing to the semifinals and a CCL berth.
Clement Diop probably lost his starting gig after surrendering six goals to RSL, so expect Jon Kempin to start in goal for L.A. Ashley Cole played against RSL and was part of the six goal walloping, but should start for tonight’s match, along with Quake-killer Jelle Van Damme, David Romney, and Nathan Smith on the backline. Jermaine Jones is questionable, and could see a start at defensive mid for L.A., along with Joao Pedro. The attacking midfield trio of Alassandrini, Jose Villareal, and Ema Boateng, with Gio dos Santos as the lone forward.
The Quakes will start as many starters as they can muster as their next league match isn’t until next Wednesday. Expect Bingham in goal with a four-man backline of Nick Lima, Andres Imperiale, Victor Bernardez, and Kofi Sarkodie. Flo Jungwirth should see his second start at defensive mid with the absence of Ceren, Godoy, and Alashe. Expect Tommy Thompson and Jackson Yueill to start on the wings with Jahmir Hyka at the CAM. It’s possible, though not probable, that Valeri “Vako” Qazaishvili could start at CAM. If that were to happen, Hyka could replace Yueill on the wing. Up top, expect Chris Wondolowski and Danny Hoesen.
The beauty of the Open Cup is that a team has to win. I’m betting the teams play to a 1-1 draw at the end of regular time, neither team scores during extra time, and the Quakes advance on PKs 4-3 as I feel David Bingham is more up to the task than Jon Kempin.