Competition: Major League Soccer – LA Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes
Venue: StubHub Center – Friday, July 17 – 23:00 ET (04:00 BST)
Match Odds: LA Galaxy 4/9 – Draw 16/5 – San Jose Earthquakes 11/2
All eyes will be on Gerrard as he plays his first game in Major League Soccer but the former Liverpool captain will be focused on trying to seal all three points to move LA into top spot in the Western Conference for at least a few hours.
A Galaxy win would see them move onto 34 points, just one behind Supporters’ Shield leaders DC United so this is a crucial game for last year’s MLS Cup winners.
The fact that it’s against their fiercest rivals in MLS will only intensify pressure and the home crowd will be desperate for revenge following their 3-1 defeat to San Jose in the reverse league fixture at the end of June.
LA did beat San Jose 1-0 in the US Open Cup a few days after that defeat but it’s results in MLS that mean most to fans. The loss to San Jose was their only league defeat in their last five and they’ve won their last three at home, scoring 14 and conceding just one.
The Earthquakes will have a tough task winning at StubHub Center as they haven’t done so since 2012 and come into the game off back-to-back losses to Portland and Houston without scoring a goal.
Steven Gerrard has played 90 minutes over two games so far for the Galaxy but Friday night will see him make his MLS debut in front of his own fans and it’s tough to see San Jose spoiling the party.
Brian Perk is out for the season but is LA’s only injury concern heading into this one. But Jaime Penedo, Omar Gonzalez, Gyasi Zardes and Alan Gordon are all away at the Gold Cup as is new signing Giovani Dos Santos so none of those will feature here.
San Jose boss Dominic Kinnear is still without Innocent Emeghara and Steven Lenhart. More worryingly, Chris Wondolowski and Cordell Cato, who both scored in the 3-1 win over the Galaxy last month, are away at the Gold Cup with the USA and Trinidad and Tobago respectively.
LA Galaxy’s last five in MLS: D/W/W/L/W
San Jose Earthquakes’ last five in MLS: D/W/W/L/L
Key Stat: LA Galaxy have scored at least four goals in their last three home matches in MLS, conceding just once.
Key Player: Steven Gerrard – Impossible to overlook the midfield enforcer as he will be desperate to start his MLS career with a victory against the Galaxy’s fierce rivals.
LA Galaxy 3-1 San Jose Earthquakes – Both sides missing players but the Galaxy to get revenge for last month’s loss with a win by the same scoreline. Expect Gerrard to be involved with plenty of positive play going forward.