The Los Angeles Galaxy can take a big step toward a playoff spot when they face the San Jose Earthquakes in the California Clasico at Stanford, Calif., on Saturday night.
The Galaxy (12-12-7, 43 points) are tied with Real Salt Lake for the seventh-most points in the Western Conference but RSL hold the tiebreaker edge. The Galaxy have a game in hand, and a victory would push Los Angeles past sixth-place Minnesota United and into a tie with the fifth-place Portland Timbers.
The Galaxy are trending upward after a convincing 4-1 home win over the Colorado Rapids last week. Newcomer Riqui Puig became the first LA player with three assists in a match since legendary Landon Donovan in 2014 and Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez scored his team-best 15th goal of the campaign.
The victory halted a four-match winless stretch (0-1-3).
"Any time we have good results, we take that step forward, and it's an emotional boost for this group in particular," Galaxy coach Greg Vanney said. "I think that's a good sign. And now we've got to recover and lace 'em up and go play. I think this is our game in hand that's coming up -- we've got to try and make something out of it, for sure."
The Earthquakes (7-14-10, 31 points) are in last place in the West but handed the Galaxy a dreadful 3-2 home loss on July 13.
Star striker Jeremy Ebobisse scored one of the goals that night and his current total sits at 16, tied for third-most in San Jose history. Only the recently retired Chris Wondolowski (27 in 2012, 18 in 2010) has scored more for the Quakes.
Ebobisse scored the lone goal in San Jose's 1-1 home time with FC Dallas last Saturday. He said he is ready for a raucous atmosphere at Stanford Stadium in the California Clasico.
"I'm expecting a rowdy crowd," Ebobisse said. "Anytime you play against an LA team, you want to show them who's boss, so it doesn't matter what the standings look like, where we're at or where they're at, we beat them away, so we know they're going to want to beat us here. They're in a tough spot in the playoff race."
The Earthquakes are 0-2-1 over their past three matches while being outscored 9-2.
--Field Level Media