Is today the day the LA Galaxy finally figure out the San Jose Earthquakes? No time could be better.
The Galaxy and Earthquakes played three tightly-fought contests this season, resulting in a pair of one-goal wins for San Jose and a 2-2 tie less than two weeks ago in which LA held leads of 1-0 and 2-1.
Now they meet in the Western Conference semifinals in a two-game home-and-home series. The first of the two games is tonight at Home Depot Center at 6 p.m. PT. The second match will be on Wednesday at 8 p.m. in San Jose.
“It’s an exciting series,” Galaxy defender Todd Dunivant told LAGalaxy.com. “I think it’ll be great for the fans, great for the league. Obviously we’ve had three pretty intense games against them so we’re expecting the intensity to be notched up another couple levels and it’s going to be a battle no doubt about it.”
San Jose finished the regular season 19-6-9 to win the Supporters’ Shield and top playoff seed. The defending champion Galaxy, meanwhile, started the season slowly, but finished strong to earn the No. 4 seed.
The Galaxy advanced to the Western semis with a physical, 2-1 Knockout Round victory over Vancouver on Thursday.
Changes coming to lineup?
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said he will likely make some changes to his lineup for tonight’s game, though he did not specify what they might be.
Meanwhile, LAGalaxy.com reported that midfielder Juninho expected to be ready to play Sunday night, and that the team also hoped to get defender Sean Franklin and forward Christian Wilhelmsson back onto the field as well.
Franklin has battled hamstring tightness, but Arena said “we expect him to be back.”
Wilhelmsson is questionable with a tight right quadriceps, and Juninho has received treatment for a sore Achilles’, according to LAGalaxy.com.
'I'll be alright Sunday,” Juninho told the web site.