Rivals often bring out the best in each other, no matter where teams are in the table.
But no matter how strong or poor a rival’s season is going, the last thing you want to do is not show them their proper respect.
So said Los Angeles Galaxy forward Mike Magee, who is bent on showing San Jose their proper respect entering Saturday’s edition of the California Clásico.
By not showing San Jose respect in the last meeting—a 2-2 tie on July 22 in which Landon Donovan scored a last-minute equalizer—the Galaxy dropped points at home and nearly lost the match altogether.
WATCH HIGHLIGHTS: LA 2, SJ 2
“When they came here… they had a chip on their shoulder and they played with confidence,” Magee said. “We took it for granted and didn’t give them the respect they deserved. If we can go in there, give them the respect they deserve, I think we can get a result.”
While earlier in the season the Galaxy were expected to contend for the Western Conference playoffs, anything close to a winning record would seemingly have been plenty for the Quakes. Instead, San Jose and the Galaxy each look strong in their respective playoff chase.
Entering their match in San Jose on Saturday, the Galaxy lead the Western Conference while San Jose sits in sixth place, but would nab a playoff spot anyway in that position. Additionally, the Quakes have at least one game in hand over every team ahead of them in the table.
“We fought hard and they wanted to prove something on our own turf,” Galaxy forward Edson Buddle said. “It’s not going to be easy to go up there. We always want to come out on top when we play San Jose.”
The Quakes beat Kansas City 1-0 at Buck Shaw Stadium one week ago, bouncing back from consecutive losses to Colorado and Seattle. During the week, former Galaxy ‘keeper Joe Cannon broke his ankle and will be lost for six to eight weeks. But when San Jose played at Home Depot Center recently, Jon Busch was the starter and should line up against the Galaxy once more.
Regardless of who lines up where – Bobby Convey has also moved from midfield to left back – the Galaxy are expecting a challenge.
“It will be a tough game,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. “It’s a difficult stadium to play in although I’ve never been there. We know it’s a small field in terms of its width and probably the length. They’re a team that needs to win its games at home, so they are going to be aggressive.”
The Galaxy will also look to extend their road success as well. Last week’s 1-0 win at New York was the club’s seventh road victory, more than twice as many as any other team in the league. All but one of those wins were by shutout.
Whether it’s via shutout our a high-scoring match, LA players are just looking for success now—in the form of three points.
“A win on the road is always good,” Buddle said. “We’re just trying to get better before the playoffs start, and it starts with games on the road. Right now, we just want to win games, which is most important.”