I am never going to "root" for the LA Galaxy, but I will readily admit the debut of Zlatan Ibrahimovic for our enemies in the southland was nothing short of fantastic. That is why we watch sports, to watch the best in the world show us why they are the best in the world. Also, I've had quite a bone to pick with LAFC and their marketing of "actually being in LA" as a selling point. A) tons of teams don't actually play in the city confines of what their branding says (New York Jets, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, Golden State Warriors...anyone know where Golden state is for that matter?), and B), LAFC only exists because of the foundation laid by the Galaxy, and the Quakes, and the other teams that were here in 1996 before everyone and their mother had jumped on the futbol train in North America. LAFC can get a stadium IN Los Angeles proper because of what the teams that came before did. I do appreciate what LAFC is doing in putting together a team that is fun to watch and entertaining right off the bat, but I do take umbrage with the lack of respect shown to a team in the Galaxy that helped build the league into what it is today. More to the point, they were Zlatan-ed.
California (Clasico) dreaming:
Now, while I am a fan of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, I also note that when it comes time for these two teams to clash (twice in about a month's span from the end of May to end of June), I am more looking forward to whoever it is on the Quakes that tangles with him (Magnus is my early favorite to do so, followed by Wondo, and then Quincy) in the course of a game. I am most definitely betting on their being some pushing and shoving, and that's how the matches between the Quakes and the Galaxy should be. You want pushing and shoving, and the Galaxy needed a villain again. Since the departure of Jelle Van Damme, the Galaxy lacked that lightning rod guy on the pitch. In Zlatan they have one again. I am also thrilled at the prospect of the Galaxy coming back to life. That later season win SJ had in LA was... weird. Not because they won, but because the Galaxy were so devoid of life and fire. Give me the best these two teams have to offer.
Yeah, that was a tough one, especially considering how many good chances the Earthquakes created in the second half. You've got to give a tip of the cap to Sean Johnson who was simply spectacular in keeping the Earthquakes from finding the back of the net more than once. NYCFC is a very good team, and the Quakes played them tough. I thought they were worthy of walking away with a draw. The play out of this one that sticks with you is the goal from Tinnerholm, where it seems that the team froze as the ball made its way out to Tinnerholm. On the ESPN broadcast, Taylor Twellman pointed out that Shea Salinas, and other Quakes, were complaining about being held and that they were prevented from properly defending. Either way, it was frustrating to watch that ball go in. Heartening, however, was the mentality put forth by Flo Jungwirth after the match, who pointed out that the team was still in a transitional form under a new head coach, and that he didn't think a win was far off. I don't either. I think San Jose has had a very tough schedule in two of their first three matches in Sporting KC on the road, and a red hot NYCFC at home, whilst the Quakes have had no chance to develop rhythm, with MLS games happening every other week. 10% of the season has yet to have passed, and SJ has points on the table. I'm not too worried about their start.
Looking at Philly:
Well, this could be weird for a big reason, and that is SNOW is in the forecast for Saturday. Unless I am forgetting something, the last snow game I can recall for San Jose was in New England at the end of March in 2015. That forecast could change by the time kickoff actually rolls around, but either way, it won't be warm. The Union are off a potentially dangerous team with players like David Accam and CJ Sapong on the attack, they have a high-quality keeper in Andre Blake, and have a solid and very young back line. In their last match, the oldest player on the back line was 24. If San Jose wants to walk away with a win, which I think is possible, they need to play a complete 90 minutes, which is something they have yet to do all season long. They played 80 great minutes against Minnesota, came out the gates flat against Sporting KC, stormed out the gates against NYCFC only to falter and rise again, but it was too little too late. The lapse(s) in the first 15 minutes of the second half cost them the game, even though it took a monumental effort from Johnson to keep SJ off the board. If the Quakes can go into Philly and get a win, I think everyone will feel a bit better about the team's standing.
Manchester United at Levi's
If you haven't figured it out by now, I do spend a good deal of time looking at soccer related social media and message boards. A question that has been asked is "what do MLS teams get by having these games where 80% of the people in attendance will be supporting the EPL team?" My simple answer is this: People come to the game because they associate the MAN U brand with excellence, or that's their team, or they want to see player X, Y, Z... whatever it is. When they watch the game, there's the chance they see something in the Earthquakes they like, or they think to themselves "you know what? That was fun. We should go to more soccer games. The San Jose Earthquakes play games. Let's go to San Jose Earthquakes games." There is no easy way to fight the history of Manchester United and the EPL, all Major League Soccer can do is continue to build their own, which it is doing. For now, enjoy watching one of the biggest brands in sports come to town and play a game against the Quakes at Levi's, which, despite the hate it unreasonably gets, is a pretty sweet stadium.
Ted Ramey - PXP SJ Earthquakes