We're now at the business end of the LA Galaxy's preseason. Bruce Arena's men travel to Las Vegas, Nevada to take on the San Jose Earthquakes in their last exhibition match of 2016, ahead of their big CONCACAF Champions League clash against Santos Laguna on Feb. 24.
Still undefeated after a win over FC Shirak and a scoreless draw with Xolos de Tijuana, a California Clasico should bring out eager anticipation in the Galaxy. It's by far the least glamorous tie against San Jose in recent time, but it presents a genuine opportunity for the Galaxy to show they are ready to tackle the start of the 2016 season.
Part of this because Bruce Arena will have a near-complete squad to take on the Earthquakes. New signing Nigel de Jong has started training and his skill-set touches what you would imagine Bruce Arena sees as his tool at digging and disrupting more technical sides. That's all the more relevant here because Santos Laguna have looked difficult to stop in Liga MX.
Santos and San Jose are two completely different type of teams, but fitness and chemistry have to also be put into context. That may just be enough in this match, especially when you consider the big game is only two weeks away.
Meanwhile, the Earthquakes called an end to their preseason training camp in Tucson, Arizona with a 1-0 victory over South Korean side Seongnam FC.
Dominic Kinnear's side added three players to their squad for 2016: Chad Barret, Simon Dawkins, and Andres Imperiale. They narrowly missed the playoffs last season and will look to put a disappointing 2015 behind them.
The Galaxy obviously have a much more talented team on paper, but that should somehow be offset by the fact that it is only preseason. For both teams, preparation and match fitness is the only thing on their minds, and we can be fairly sure that what will happen in Vegas won't stay in Vegas.
San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 LA Galaxy - August 28, 2015 - MLS
Shea Salinas' header gave the San Jose Earthquakes a 1-0 win over 10-man Galaxy in the very first California Clasico at Avaya Stadium.
Galaxy (4-4-2): Kennedy; Rogers, Leonardo, Van Damme, Cole; dos Santos, Husidic, Gerrard, Boateng; Zardes, Keane
Earthquakes (4-4-2): Bingham; Wynne, Bernardez, Goodson, Francis; Salinas, Dawkins, Godoy, Cato; Amarikwa, Wondolowski