Match Preview

MATCH PREVIEW: Earthquakes host Galaxy in 101st California Clasico at Stanford Stadium   

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The San Jose Earthquakes will take on the LA Galaxy on Saturday, June 29. Kickoff from Stanford Stadium in Stanford, California, will take place at 7:30 p.m. PT and will be broadcast globally here on Apple TV’s MLS Season Pass, as well as on local radio via AM 810 The Spread (English) and AM 1370 La Kaliente (Spanish).

In their last match on Saturday, the Quakes fell 6-2 to their Western Conference rival Los Angeles Football Club at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles.

The Quakes will now face the LA Galaxy at Stanford Stadium to culminate the club’s 50th Anniversary Week. This California Clásico will be the 101st edition of the derby. The all-time record currently tallies 28 victories for the Quakes, who have netted 126 times, and 39 wins for the Galaxy, who have scored 142 goals. 17 games have ended in a draw.

On Monday, San Jose announced the departure of head coach Luchi Gonzalez. The Quakes have been competitive all season, but have dropped 20 points from a winning position. The Black and Blue currently sit at the bottom of the Western Conference standings with 11 points.

Interim head coach Ian Russell will take the helm. With 11 years as an assistant coach and 131 appearances for the Quakes as a player between 2000-05, he knows the club front and back. Recently honored as one of the 50 Greatest Quakes in club history, the former midfielder helped the Earthquakes win MLS Cup championships in 2001 and 2003, as well as their first Supporters' Shield in 2005.

As an assistant, he was part of the 2012 Supporters’ Shield-winning squad. He even served as head coach for the Quakes’ second team in USL Championship, Reno 1868 FC, from 2017-20, earning Co-Coach of the Year honors once.

Earthquakes general manager Chris Leitch spoke about the decision to select Russell.

“Ian is a very experienced coach who knows our club better than anyone,” said Leitch. “He had a great run as head coach at Reno for four years, winning a lot of games and making the playoffs every season. We’re confident that he’s ready to lead us, starting with this Saturday’s game against LA at Stanford Stadium.”

Forward Dejan Joveljic currently leads the Galaxy with 11 goals and five assists this season. The LA attack is supported by forward Joseph Paintsil (5g/5a) and forward Gabriel Pec (6g/7a). Though midfielder Riqui Puig (6g/5a) has been battling injuries, the possibility remains that he joins the team in time for Saturday.

The Galaxy recently secured three consecutive victories under head coach Greg Vanney. With 37 points, the LA side is tied for first in the Western Conference. The top spot is crowded with LAFC and Real Salt Lake also tied for the position.

Despite San Jose’s struggles, Cristian Espinoza has been strong on the attack. With 10 assists so far in the 2024 campaign, the Argentine is tied for the third-place spot in the league. He is only behind FC Cincinnati’s Lucho Acosta (15) and Inter Miami CF’s Lionel Messi (13).

Quakes midfielder Hernán López notched his second assist of the season against LAFC last weekend. He has now scored or assisted in five of his eight career MLS starts.

San Jose forward Jeremy Ebobisse has long been an attacking threat to LA, with 10 goals against the SoCal rivals in 15 career games.

Espinoza and Ebobisse also continue to extend the current active MLS record for consecutive appearances. With their starts against LAFC last weekend, their streaks are at 94 and 93 games, respectively.

With over 100 club legends coming back to the Bay Area to celebrate 50th Anniversary Week, the Earthquakes hope to snap a four-game losing streak by rallying around their new coach and over 40,000 fans this Saturday at Stanford Stadium.