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LA Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes: Three Questions

What to make of the current state of the Clasico rivals?

MLS: Sporting Kansas City at San Jose Earthquakes Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The LA Galaxy will host the San Jose Earthquakes in the California Clasico on Saturday afternoon, and ahead of the big game, I’ve welcomed myself back to the interview chair, as I also cover the Quakes for Center Line Soccer. Many thanks to me for taking the time to answer the questions that I created.

Center Line Soccer asks LAG Confidential:

1. How’s the season going so far for the Earthquakes?

It’s been up and down, which is pretty much what we’ve come to expect from the Quakes under head coach Matias Almeyda. They had a three-game winning streak where it looked like they had figured everything out, and then they followed it up with a three-game losing streak. I would give some consideration to the opponents in those losses being the Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers and Sporting Kansas City, and to San Jose largely playing well in those games, but they all came at home so losing all three stings quite a bit.

So we’re kind of at a crossroads point right now. Will the season be a succession of runs for the Quakes? Will they figure it out and start picking up more results, or will they sink to the bottom of the Western Conference? Again, their level of play has largely been impressive all season, and at worst they’ve only played really poorly in two halves, but they can’t keep losing and just assume they’ll figure it out, either.

2. It looks like you are contractually obligated to answer a question about Cade Cowell every week.

It’s essentially true, he’s the player everyone wants to know about. To be fair, I get why the attention is on the 17-year-old. He’s a homegrown player who turned pro in 2019, and of course he scored his first career MLS goal in the Clasico last season so the Galaxy are already somewhat familiar with him. But while he’s not been on the scoresheet the past couple weeks, Cowell looks like he could be a real star in the making. He’s been working on his finishing and has mostly been playing as a striker in the Earthquakes’ system, but he has also honed his passing and has been impressive in the buildup, too. He’s fast, physical and seems to be making a real jump this season. If he continues to grow in his game, he could get a move to Europe before long, and I think he has the potential to make that jump.

3. Does this rivalry mean as much to the Earthquakes as it once did?

Yes, yes and yes. The Earthquakes don’t have another rivalry to siphon off their attention. Sure, they don’t like LAFC either, but that one is on the field, there’s been no real take-off for it like there is for the Clasico. And that helps explain, I think, why San Jose is so amped up for these games. Whether they’re above the Galaxy or below them in the standings at a given time, with old head Chris Wondolowski leading the charge this Quakes team knows they need to bring it for the Cali Clasico and they do. Sometimes that results in wins and sometimes it doesn’t, but you can’t deny the Quakes really feed off this rivalry, and you could argue the rising prominence of El Trafico maybe takes the edge off a bit for the Galaxy and so they don’t have that fueling them to the same extent. We’ll see what it’s like on Saturday.

You can find my answers to my questions on the Galaxy at Center Line Soccer.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.