Earthquakes-Galaxy Preview

The Los Angeles Galaxy may already have a playoff spot clinched
by the time they host the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday night.

Still, valuable seeding is on the line for Los Angeles, while
the Earthquakes will be trying to overcome their historical road
struggles against the Galaxy and keep their postseason hopes
alive.

Los Angeles (15-11-6) remains strong at home, coming off
back-to-back shutout wins there. Rookie Kofi Opare scored his first
career goal in a 1-0 victory over Montreal on Wednesday, though the
Galaxy missed plenty of opportunities with Landon Donovan sidelined
due to a sprained ankle.

Donovan suffered the injury Sept. 14 at D.C. United and has
played sporadically since, but he told the league’s official
website he hopes to play Sunday.

“The ankle’s not great, but we’re going to try to play, and this
is the time of the year where you’ve just got to get through it,”
said Donovan, whose 11 assists and 10 goals in league play trail
Robbie Keane for the team lead in both categories.

“You know, I’ve been out long enough. I miss playing with these
guys. I want to do whatever I can to help contribute, and I know
what this means this time of year, so I’m going to try to
play.”

Los Angeles will have a record 15th playoff appearance locked up
should Colorado lose to Vancouver on Saturday. The Galaxy can also
take care of things themselves, needing a single point to secure a
postseason berth. A win would assure them a top-three spot in the
Western Conference, allowing them to avoid the wild-card match.

Meanwhile, a loss by San Jose, coupled with a Colorado win,
would eliminate the Earthquakes (13-11-8) from playoff
contention.

The two-time defending MLS champion Galaxy have to feel good
about their chances at home, where they are 21-7-3 against San
Jose. They beat the Earthquakes 3-0 at home on Aug. 31 behind a
pair of goals and an assist from Keane.

Los Angeles is 11-2-3 at home overall this year, outscoring
teams 32-8.

The Earthquakes are 3-10-3 on the road, but have won two
straight away from home while surrendering just one goal during a
4-0-1 stretch.

They haven’t played since a 1-0 home victory over Colorado on
Oct. 9, their second consecutive 1-0 result powered by a Chris
Wondolowski goal.

A season after tying the league record with 27 goals,
Wondolowski’s headed score against the Rapids was only his 10th of
the year, but also his MLS-leading seventh game-winning goal.

“We always say, ‘You never take him off the field, because he
will get a chance, and he will score,'” general manager John Doyle
told the team’s website. “He misses a chance, but then he gets a
chance in the 90th minute, and then he scores. For me, I think he’s
had a phenomenal season.”

Wondolowski has three goals in 10 career league games versus Los
Angeles, going scoreless in the last four. Teammate Alan Gordon has
scored seven times in eight contests against the Galaxy.