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Schmid Knows Way to (Rattle) San Jose

Soccer: Galaxy coach says the heat is on Earthquakes tonight as they try to avenge Thursday's loss to L.A.


Minutes after his team claimed its first "must-win" game of the season, a 2-1 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes, Galaxy Coach Sigi Schmid was talking about how the "onus" was now on the Galaxy's Northern California neighbors to pull out a win in the return match at San Jose.

Earthquake forward Landon Donovan was in another corner of the Rose Bowl Thursday night, promising that the Galaxy "won't know what hit them" come tonight at Spartan Stadium.

Everyone ready for Round 2?

Though the rivalry between Major League Soccer's two California clubs got a jump-start at last October's MLS Cup title game, a match San Jose won, 2-1, in overtime, the Galaxy and Earthquakes act as if they've despised each other since the league's inception in 1996.

But while the Galaxy has long been a league power and has appeared in three league championship games--losing each time--the upstart Earthquakes won their title the first time they played for it ... against the Galaxy.

Bad blood? Sure. Plus, the Galaxy, which had dropped five of its previous seven matches, needed a victory in the worst way Thursday in the first game of the midseason home-and-home series against the Western Division-leading Earthquakes.

A loss would have dropped the Galaxy 12 points behind San Jose entering tonight's game at intimate Spartan Stadium, where the Earthquakes are 7-0 this season.

"It's much different playing at San Jose," Schmid said. "The field's a lot smaller so they're able to play with that compactness and they can keep things tight on an opponent ... and they counterattack very well and have good speed."

The Earthquakes employ their smothering 4-4-2 formation on the pinball machine that is Spartan Stadium, which measures 70 yards by 110 yards when set up for soccer. The Rose Bowl's configuration for soccer is 72 yards by 116 yards.

"At least it's a field where it's easier to chase on," Schmid said. "They can't hide from you as well since there's less space, less acreage.

"Obviously, they're a team that's very comfortable playing on that field....We have to be mentally sharp."

The Earthquakes, whose midfield seemed a shambles at times Thursday, will regain the services of veteran midfielder Richard Mulrooney, who had to sit out after drawing a red card the previous weekend.

But San Jose was hit with injuries against the Galaxy as defender Troy Dayak (strained groin) and midfielder Ian Russell (right calf strain) left at halftime. Their status for tonight was unknown.

The Galaxy did not escape unscathed. Defender Tyrone Marshall went down with a strained groin and did not travel with the team.

But with the rest of the team relatively healthy, Marshall's absence shouldn't hurt the Galaxy as much as it would have earlier, when as many as five starters were out with injuries and Cobi Jones was at the World Cup.

With Marshall out, expect deposed starter Danny Califf to reclaim his spot or, possibly, Craig Waibel to get the call.

"Anytime you have [internal] competition, it's a good thing," Schmid said. "Our big problem has been that we really haven't been able to train together as a unit."

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