On Saturday (10pm ET), franchises with opposing objectives collide at PayPal Park, as the San Jose Earthquakes welcome the Los Angeles Galaxy. While the hosts are now simply looking to save face and avoid finishing bottom of the pile in the west, the visitors hunt for a place in the playoffs.
Ultimately, it was another disappointing evening for San Jose fans last time out. Yes, they watched their team avoid losing three on the bounce, but they did not see a rare win, as the Earthquakes were held to a 1-1 tie at home to FC Dallas.
It’s now three games without victory for Luchi Gonzalez’s men, who’ve won just one of their last five. They’ve won two out of six since the Argentinian took over back in mid-August, but that hasn’t been enough to drag them off the foot of the Western Conference. On the plus side, Saturday’s hosts are unbeaten in three at home, so even in their time of disarray, there are small positives to be taken.
For the Galaxy, it was a much-needed win that was secured last time out. Greg Vanney’s men must’ve started to feel like the postseason was slipping from their grasp after going four games without a win, but they wrestled back some control of their own destiny by beating the Colorado Rapids by four goals to one at Dignity Health Sports Park.
Not easy to beat
Despite their lowly league position, the Earthquakes are far from easy to get the better of at home. In fact, somewhat strangely, they have lost fewer home games than most of the division, leaving the field at PayPal Park emptyhanded on just three occasions this term. They’ve won six and tied six in front of a home crowd.
Offensively, they can hurt teams too, scoring five goals in their last three, while they’ve only failed to find the net in one out of 15 home games. Not too many teams boast a scoring record of that nature. Their problem? They find it tough to keep teams out. No team in the Western Conference has conceded more home goals than the San Jose Earthquakes, who have conceded an average of 1.6 in their own backyard. Only one team across the whole of Major League Soccer has kept fewer home clean sheets than Saturday’s hosts.
Ricky arrived right on time
For the Los Angeles Galaxy, the arrival of Spanish midfielder Ricky Puig looks like it may just have been a timely one. After switching La Liga for Major League Soccer just over a month ago, Puig has made a big impact. He has scored two goals and claimed two assists in seven appearances for the Galaxy. Last time out, the youngster was instrumental, as he pulled the strings against the Rapids, assisting Brugman for the fourth, playing a vital part in the build for both the first and third goals too. With the youngster playing behind the likes of Grandsir, Joveljic and Chicharito, the Galaxy look much more creative, that’s for sure.
Galaxy looking for revenge
Saturday’s visitors will be looking to improve on the result they picked up against San Jose back in July. On that occasion, in front of a home crowd, the Galaxy came up short, losing by three goals to two. That was their second straight defeat to the Earthquakes after losing at home towards the back end of the previous campaign.
What will encourage the visitors is that they were unlucky when the teams last met. Although they lost by three goals to two, they were the more creative of the pair, leaving the field with a 0.6 expected goals supremacy.
Value lies with the hosts
Betting on a team that is without a win in three won’t be for everyone, but if we look closely at what the hosts have done in their recent home games and put this up against LA Galaxy’s recent traveling efforts, then it’s not difficult to conclude that the home win could be shorter in the betting. Therefore, a small play on the hosts represents a slice of value.
OK, sure, the Earthquakes are far from prolific winners at home, but they are very good at staying in games, while they have emerged victorious from two of their last three at home. Moreover, although their defensive record at home overall isn’t great, they have started to tighten up, conceding only two goals in their last three, conceding just once or less in each of their last four at PayPal Park. In contrast, the Galaxy have conceded multiple goals in four of their last five on the road, only one of which they have won. They arrive at this junction having conceded three (without reply) when last in action on the road.
What also bodes well for the hosts is that they have generally done well when their opponents have had more of the ball. For instance, look at the reverse of the fixture. While Galaxy dominated possession, the Earthquakes thrived on the break, which was also the case when the Vancouver Whitecaps came to visit just a few weeks ago. Such form points towards more home joy for Luchi Gonzalez’s men.
The San Jose Earthquakes also claim more points per game at home than the Los Angeles Galaxy do on the road, while by showing +0.09 to Galaxy’s -0.03, they have a slightly better average xG difference too, which again suggests that they deserve a bit more respect in the early betting with the American-serving sportsbooks. So this is the betting pick for this preview and the conclusion of our San Jose Earthquakes vs Los Angeles Galaxy predictions: