After days full of excitement, uncertainty, and a turmoil of emotions, the San Jose Earthquakes are set to close the week with the 71st Cali Clasico as they battle the LA Galaxy in the first true road match of the season.
The Earthquakes were hours away from playing against the Portland Timbers at Earthquakes Stadium on Wednesday evening, but the game was called off in an act of solidarity in response to the recent shooting of Jacob Blake and events in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Players from the first team, led by forward Chris Wondolowski, took the decision to stand with other players from various sports to fight for equality and social injustice in this country.
“When you share a locker room, and you have to battle with that individual and you have to shed blood, sweat and tears with them, you need to have their back. And you realize that everyone is equal and it's an amazing thing,” Wondolowski said in a press conference on Thursday. “You learn so much about someone's culture, someone's heritage, who they are, why they think a certain way, why they became who they are. These are my brothers and this cause is something worth fighting for and it's something that we need."
As discussions between the Major League Soccer Players’ Association and Major League Soccer continue regarding social activism, clubs are also focusing on their upcoming matches, and the Quakes are not going against just any other opponent. LA Galaxy, San Jose’s greatest rival, won their most recent match against crosstown foe LAFC 2-0 on Saturday, Aug. 22. In addition, the team led by Argentine head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto has been recently active on the transfer market, signing U.S. Youth National Team goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann and Colombian winger Yony Gonzalez.
But the SoCal team has also had its share of trials and tribulations throughout this young season. The Galaxy had a poor performance during the MLS is Back Tournament, ending with a 0-2-1 record, and lost Mexico National Team star Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez due to a calf injury. LA will now host San Jose, whom they have not performed well against in recent battles. The Quakes currently hold a 3-1-1 record in their last five meetings with LA and won both matches in 2019 by a combined score of 6-1.
Even though they will play without fans in the stands of Dignity Health Sports Park, the Quakes will be supported back home with a drive-in viewing party at Earthquakes Stadium. Exclusively for Quakes Season Ticket Holders, fans that would like to attend future viewing parties can still do so by joining the Earthquakes family and putting down a small deposit. To sign up, click here.
Will California be Black and Blue? The clash presented by Sutter Health is set for this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. PT from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif., and will be broadcast live on NBC Sports California, KNBR 1050 and 1370 KZSF. Match coverage will begin after Oakland A’s baseball and may start on NBC Sports California+ if there is a timing conflict.