Earthquakes, Galaxy meet in California Classico

6:34 PM, Oct 18, 2013   |    comments
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Carson, CA ( - The San Jose Earthquakes will be desperate for three points on Sunday when the club heads to StubHub Center to face their interstate rivals Los Angeles Galaxy in the latest edition of the California Classico.

Entering the penultimate week of the season, San Jose finds itself one point behind the Colorado Rapids for the fifth and final playoff berth in the crowded Western Conference.

A victory would take the club up to 50 points and into playoff position pending the Rapids outcome on Saturday against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Last time out, the 'Quakes came away with a much-needed 1-0 victory over the Rapids at Buck Shaw Stadium on Wednesday. The match had playoff intensity for the duration of the 90 minutes with both sides creating a bevy of scoring chances.

But it was the home-standing Earthquakes, who improved to 4-0-1 in their last five matches, that found the breakthrough in the 69th minute when midfielder Shea Salinas facilitated the scoring play with a beautiful cross into the box that Chris Wondolowski was able to head home.

"I thought we had four or five really good chances to score before breaking through," Quakes interim coach Mark Watson said. "All credit to our guys for their perseverance, to keep plugging away and keep going at them and getting opportunities. Sometimes when you get opportunity after opportunity that doesn't go in, guys tend to drop their heads. Our guys didn't do that."

Los Angeles, meanwhile, will be looking to clinch a playoff berth with a win over San Jose following a 1-0 victory over the Montreal Impact at home on Wednesday.

After a scoreless opening 45 minutes, the Galaxy grabbed the only goal of the match on a broken play following a corner kick. Juninho launched a corner kick into the box that was initially headed by Leonardo, but after a series of bounces and deflections, rookie Kofi Opare fired it home for his first career goal in MLS.

"All I told our team was a great win, maybe not a great game, but a great win," Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said.

"Not surprising that the goal came off a bit of a scramble, which was likely expected given the circumstances of the game and all. Give Kofi [Opare] a lot of credit, Robbie [Keane] kept the ball alive," Arena added. "We had a couple of other chances during the game. I think their 'keeper did well. I think in the first half we were very poor technically, too slow on ball. When we got into the second half, we got a little bit better. But we know we could be better than we were tonight."

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