The Galaxy come into the season’s final game knowing a win will give them the top spot in the Western Conference and home field advantage in the playoffs because L.A. holds most of the tiebreakers over Houston and Chivas USA, which play each other at noon Sunday here at Home Depot Center, should either of those two teams finish tied with them on points.
The Galaxy haven’t beaten the Earthquakes this season, however, San Jose having won 2-1 in the two teams’ last meeting in June and the two teams drawing 1-1 back in April.
The Galaxy have a shutout in six of their last eight games, while the Earthquakes haven’t lost in their last four road games, although they have only won once on the road this season.
Back with the lineups in a bit.
The only change for the Galaxy tonight sees Landon Donovan replace Eddie Lewis in misfield, otherwise it’s the same XI that drew 0-0 last time out against Houston. That means A.J. DeLaGarza starts on the bench again, as does veteran midfielder Chris Klein, who seems to be out of favor with Coach Bruce Arena at the moment.
Here’s Arena’s team: Donovan Ricketts, Sean Franklin, Gregg Berhalter, Omar Gonzalez, Todd Dunivant, Chris Birchall, David Beckham, Dema Kovalenko, Landon Donovan, Edson Buddle, Mike Magee.
Bryan Jordan and Jovan Kirovski are offensive options on the bench in the absence of the suspended Alan Gordon.
BTW, Gonzalez will make his 30th MLS appearance for the Galaxy tonight; only five players in MLS had played 29 games coming into the weekend.
Earthquakes Coach Frank Yallop recalls former Galaxy goalkeeper Joe Cannon tonight, while former Galaxy striker Cornell Glen (last seen scoring two goals against Chivas USA in 2006 you’ll recall) is unavailable after undergoing surgery (the story of the Earthquakes’ season in large measure).
The game is delayed on FSW tonight (and is usually blacked out across the nation anyway on that channel because of Direct Kick) so stick with me here for regular updates.