'Quakes, Galaxy renew California Clasico rivalry
Carson, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes will renew their rivalry at the StubHub Center on Friday when the two sides meet in the latest installment of the California Clasico.
It is the second meeting between the two clubs this term as the Galaxy picked up a 1-0 win over the Earthquakes at Stanford Stadium on June 28.
Los Angeles has dropped just one league match since that result, producing a 4-1-1 record in the following six games to climb to third place in the Western Conference with 33 points.
The club enters Friday's clash on a two-game winning streak, cruising to a 3-0 defeat of Seattle Sounders FC before coming from behind in a 3-1 home win over the Portland Timbers.
"I think we can be a better team that we were last year," Landon Donovan said. "I think we're a lot more experienced in a lot of different positions. I think we're a lot better position-for-position when we're on the field. We struggled getting results early on, but now the results are coming and if we keep doing this, we're going to keep moving up the table."
Donovan will be highly motivated for the remainder of the campaign given that the 32-year-old revealed his intention to retire from the game at the end of the season.
While Donovan appears poised to lead the Galaxy to another postseason run, San Jose is simply hoping to make it into the playoffs.
The Earthquakes enter the weekend tied with Chivas USA for last place in the Western Conference with 23 points apiece, but they have won their last two matches to move to within seven points of a playoff spot.
The turning point in San Jose's season could prove to be the 5-1 thumping it laid on the Chicago Fire on July 23 as the 'Quakes were able to follow that result with a 1-0 defeat of first-place Seattle.
"It's a fantastic win for us," San Jose coach Mark Watson said regarding the win over the Sounders. "I think there's still been games prior to our last three where we have shown improvement and maybe were unlucky not to get points. I think the play's been better and improved for a little while, and I think we're starting to get some rewards for it."
The win over Seattle marked San Jose's first shutout since May 25 and just its fifth of the season.
"We were strong defensively," goalkeeper Jon Busch said after the match. "On my end, I go out there just trying to make saves to keep my team in it. Today, I had a couple more than usual and was lucky to clear it from the crossbar a couple of times.
"It was a fun game to play. Hats off to the boys in front me. They were blocking shots and heading balls away. It wasn't pretty at the end, but we got the three points and that's all that matters."
08/07 17:31:36 ET