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Los Angeles Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes: Revenge Tour at Buck Shaw

Jo-Ryan SalazarSenior Analyst IJune 20, 2011

SANTA CLARA, CA - AUGUST 21:  Joey Gjertsen #17 of the San Jose Earthquakes and Sean Franklin #28 of the Los Angeles Galaxy compete for a header on August 21, 2010 at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara, California.  The Earthquakes won 1-0. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Depending on the United States's performance against Panama in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals, either one—Donovan or both Donovans—will be available for Bruce Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy against a team they struggled to get a result against last year, the San Jose Earthquakes.

Not that it really mattered in their last match; both Donovans—midfielder Landon Donovan and goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts—and David Beckham were not needed in the Galaxy's 3-1 victory over the Colorado Rapids on Saturday.

"It is a team game," Arena reminded reporters on Saturday. "If you are missing players, you are missing players it is all a part of it. We have missed Landon Donovan for about seven games this year, if you use that as an excuse, you are not putting yourself in a position to win any games."

The good news for the Galaxy is that regardless of what happens Wednesday, Ricketts will be reporting back to work for this important encounter on the campus of Santa Clara University this Saturday.

Los Angeles came into the match with a nine-game unbeaten streak and a 9-2-7 record (34 points), good for the best record in the league, although second-place FC Dallas have two games in hand and can be even with the Galaxy on points if they won out.

San Jose are 5-5-4 (19 points) and have four games in hand over the Galaxy.

The health of Beckham will be key. Hopefully his back issues are sorted out as they make the trip north this weekend. Beckham leads the Galaxy with seven assists and will need to generate some chances for Chad Barrett, Juan Pablo Angel and Juninho.

Defensively, the back line of Sean Franklin, Todd Dunivant, Omar Gonzalez and A.J. De La Garza had a solid performance against the defending MLS Cup Champions and will need to establish consistency against a dangerous Earthquakes attack.

Juninho and Chris Birchall will need to create some chances for Angel and Barrett because they cannot rely on Beckham alone to provide the delivery. They have shown that they can do this without the Englishman's services, and Beckham's return to the lineup will merely be a bonus.

Ricketts has a 6-1-4 record to go with a 78.9 percent save percentage and a 0.55 goals against average. Expect the Jamaican international to take some frustrations out on the home side after the Reggae Boys capitulated 2-0 on Sunday to the USA Men.

San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch is capable of figuring out the offensive tendencies of the Galaxy, and will look to pick up from where he left off. Busch currently has a 5-5-4 record.

A source of good news for the Galaxy is that they will not have to deal with Quakes leading goalscorer Chris Wondolowski if the USA secure payback against Panama. Wondo currently has six goals this season. They will have to worry about players like Simon Dawkins and Steven Lenhart, who each have four goals to their credit this season.

The Earthquakes are balanced with their ball distribution. Players like MLS SuperDraft selection Anthony Ampaipitakwong, Bobby Convey, Wondolowski, Joey Gjertsen and Khari Stephenson have recorded two assists each. Creating some buildup and smart passing will prove critical to the Quakes' fortunes against Los Angeles.

Defenders like team captain Ramiro Corrales, Jason Hernandez, Brandon McDonald, Steven Beitashour and Ike Opara need to neutralize Beckham's set-piece deliveries, whether they are from free kicks or from corners.


Prediction:
Scrappy game on the way, but I like LA's chances here. If the Galaxy can finish their chances and mix things up with their passing, look for the G's to end the MLS portion of June on a winning note. Their June is not over yet; they still have a US Open Cup game to look forward to at Titan Stadium on June 28. A preview of that game will be posted later this week on Bleacher Report and The View From Victoria Street.

Los Angeles Galaxy 2, San Jose Earthquakes 0
Kickoff is scheduled for Saturday, June 25 at 3:30 p.m. PT/6:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by Fox Soccer Channel.


INS AND OUTS
Jack McBean and the Young Americans

Even though the USA men's national team are doing the business at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, they could learn a lesson from Galaxy homegrown player Jack McBean and the Young Americans on how to beat the Czech Republic.

"He's very mature physically and a very good finisher in front of the net," Chris Klein, the senior director of the LA Galaxy Youth Academy, told MLSsoccer.com's Noah Davis. "He's able to do that effectively against kids his age or a year or two older. Against his peers, he'll do very well."

Some sort of revenge was issued out at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico, as the USA opened group play with a 3-0 blowout win over the Czechs.

Alejandro Guido scored in the fifth minute for the USA, Esteban Rodriguez made it 2-0 in the 51st minute and Alfred Koroma put the game out of reach in the 89th minute of play. McBean was on the bench for this match.

The USA will next take on Uzbekistan on June 22 before wrapping up group play against New Zealand on June 25.

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