Good Sports: L.A. Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It is already considered one of the finest minor league stadiums in country, but there won't be anything minor league about Chukchansi Park Saturday night when Major League Soccer Rivals L.A. Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes take the field.
"They're going to see possibly two to three players that will be playing in the World Cup this summer, Chris Wondolowski, Omar Gonzalez, and Landon Donovan," said L.A. Galaxy Head Coach Bruce Arena.
"I think it'll be a great show for the fans of Fresno," said L.A. Galaxy Defender Todd Dunivant. "It's a chance to see two MLS teams and two rivals playing each other and whether that's preseason or in the playoffs it's going to be an intense game and neither team's going to want to lose."
The inaugural Central California has piqued the interest of fans and the players themselves, excited about meeting halfway between the two cities. Each club is looking to steal some supporters from the other.
"We like to stick our claim to as many fans as we can and Fresno's another one of those markets that we'd love to have," said Dunivant. "So it's a good opportunity for us to play down there."
"It's always good to play against a team that's in your league because it's you know a better test and you know it's better quality than we've played against," said L.A. Galaxy Striker Robbie Keane.
The game may be labeled as an exhibition match, but make no mistake about it, the Galaxy and Earthquakes do not like one another so there won't be any lack of intensity Saturday night at Chukchansi Park.
Especially with the 2014 World Cup held in Brazil this June, each player knows he'll have to be at his best, not only to keep a place on their respective rosters, but to hopefully have a shot at a national team spot.
"To make the team, you've got to play well this part of the year so everybody who has a chance at making the team, that's understood," said L.A. Galaxy Midfielder Landon Donovan. "I think as far as media goes, as far as attention goes, people are paying attention more, so that's always a good thing to have that element to it."
And it starts tomorrow night, right here in the Central Valley. A good showing from the community, and players and coaches say they would love to make the Central California Cup an annual event.
"Sure no question about it," said Arena. "Any time we can play these games around the state of California, we'd love to do it."
"Even five years ago, we wouldn't have had a crowd of this size in Fresno, so you can tell the game is growing," said Donovan. "You can tell people care. And for people that don't live in MLS cities, it's a great chance to come out and see some of their role models play."
good sports, david bataller
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