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Jun 28, 2024 9:51 pm

Under new leadership, Quakes seek better play vs. Galaxy

Amahl Pellegrino

The San Jose Earthquakes have been the worst team in MLS this season and it cost Luchi Gonzalez his job as coach.

Interim head coach Ian Russell will lead the team into battle Saturday night when the Earthquakes host the Los Angeles Galaxy at Stanford Stadium.

The Earthquakes (3-14-2, 11 points) have lost four straight games and are 0-6-1 over their last seven matches entering the latest version of the California Clasico.

San Jose was highly uncompetitive over the past four matches, being outscored 17-6, including last weekend’s 6-2 road loss to Los Angeles FC.

“It was the first time we really got thumped,” San Jose general manager Chris Leitch said. “Now that being said, we’re playing away, we’re playing against one of the better teams in the league, but it was just the body of work, especially this year.”

This year is the key phrase. The Earthquakes made the playoffs last season for just the third time in the past 11 campaigns. The expectation was that San Jose would again be in the playoff mix.

Instead, the season has been a disaster.

“I think the team is looking forward to a change of pace, change of voice,” Leitch said. “We’ve been competitive in a lot of these games. We’ve been competitive for large stretches in these games. However, we haven’t done enough to get the results over the 90 minutes enough times.”

Beating the Galaxy (10-3-7, 37 points) will be a challenge as Los Angeles is tied for the most points in the Western Conference with LAFC and Real Salt Lake.

The Galaxy have won three straight matches and five of their past six, including an impressive 1-0 road victory over Real Salt Lake last weekend.

“This team is unbelievable and we are really good, so when we play a good game, I don’t think there’s a team that can last with us,” Los Angeles midfielder Diego Fagundez said.

Gabriel Pec scored the lone goal against Salt Lake, coming in the 74th minute. Pec (six goals) is tied with Riqui Puig for second on the Galaxy with Dejan Joveljic leading with 11 tallies.

“He just lines up there and he goes and goes and goes,” Galaxy coach Greg Vanney said of Pec. “It’s nice to have a player with that kind of durability that can just perform and compete day in and day out.”

Puig has missed the past three matches with a groin injury.

Los Angeles defeated San Jose twice earlier this season by scores of 3-1 and 4-3.

Amahl Pellegrino has a team-best five goals for the Quakes.

–Field Level Media

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