chris wodolowski goal celebration

MATCH PREVIEW: California Clasico could rejuvenate Quakes

The San Jose Earthquakes will surely look to put Thursday’s result in the rearview mirror as quickly as possible, and Sunday’s opponent may be the perfect one to do just that.

That’s not to say that the LA Galaxy are not a quality side. In fact, the Galaxy are in the midst of a four-game winning streak, a feat they’ve accomplished only one other time since July 2016. By all accounts, the SoCal club are playing their best soccer in quite some time.

But regardless of form for either side, the Earthquakes have had a long history of showing up for the California Clásico, especially on home turf.

Sunday’s match is the first between the Quakes and Galaxy at Earthquakes Stadium since May 2017, more than 1,200 days ago. The two teams generally meet at Stanford Stadium, where the Quakes have dominated the series. The California rivals have only met twice in MLS play at Earthquakes Stadium, in 2015 and 2017, with each team winning one game apiece.

Chris Wondolowski continues to be an enforcer for San Jose‘s offense, scoring in four of his last five MLS appearances. He is among the league’s all-time leading scorers against LA, and clearly the leader among active players, and would surely like to add to his total on Sunday.

Wondolowski didn’t pull any punches when asked about the team’s recent struggles after Thursday’s defeat in Seattle.

“We have to start from square one,” Wondolowski said to reporters after the match. “We built up so many valuable morals that we need to implement into our game plan. When the whistle blew, we let all that blow out the window and to be honest, a lot of that is on me, the captain, to make sure we're ready, to make sure we're sharp and to be ready for the little things.

"I think that we need to execute the game plan. That's the biggest difference. Being close or being near the idea isn't good enough and I think we harped on it at the beginning of last year. If you don't have buy-in from 11 guys, then you're going to get exposed, but if you have 11 that buy into it and execute the game plan as need be, then you get some pretty amazing things. If you play unselfish, it happens, but if you don't, there's a fine line between the have and the have-nots, especially in this league. Right now, we're getting punished, rightfully so, and it's not good enough all across the board."

The Quakes will have to be wary of Cristian Pavon (6) and Sebastian Lletget (4), who have combined to score 10 goals this season. The rest of the team has combined to score five. Pavon was a handful in their last meeting on Aug. 29 and should be priority No. 1 this weekend.

The match, presented by Sutter Health, kicks off at 8 p.m. and will be broadcast live on TUDN/UniMas, KNBR 1050 and 1370 KZSF.

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