AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week “This is no time for tricks or treats,” San Jose coach Dominic Kinnear said. “Just good, old-fashioned hard soccer.” That has not been a problem this season for the Earthquakes, who won the Supporter’s Shield for the league’s best regular-season record at 18-4-10 and have a 14-game unbeaten streak. But of the league’s nine previous shield winners, only four — D.C. United in 1997 and 1999, Kansas City in 2000 and the Galaxy in 2002 — won the MLS Cup. And only five conference champions have gone on to win the Cup. One of them was the 2003 ‘Quakes. The Galaxy, 3-1 losers to the Earthquakes in last Saturday’s regular-season finale at Home Depot Center, feels confident it can beat the best team in MLS, according to coach Steve Sampson. Part of that is because of a 2-1 win at Spartan Stadium on Aug. 24 in the U.S. Open Cup. San Jose otherwise went 9-0-7 in regular-season matches at home and was the MLS’ lone unbeaten team on its home field. “Certainly, the San Jose papers don’t talk about it and the team doesn’t talk about the fact that we beat them this year,” Sampson said. “They don’t like to admit the one loss they have this year is to the Los Angeles Galaxy. They can’t tell me they didn’t take that (U.S. Open Cup) game seriously. CARSON — What arguably is the most heated rivalry in Major League Soccer will be renewed today at noon at Home Depot Center, where the Galaxy hosts the San Jose Earthquakes in the first game of the Western Conference semifinals. The second game of the two-game series will be held Saturday in San Jose, with the winner advancing on goal aggregate. To say these teams go back a long way is an understatement. The clubs have met 47 times, including regular season, playoff and U.S. Open Cup matches, with the Galaxy holding a 27-15-5 advantage. There also are player connections everywhere. The Galaxy’s Landon Donovan, for example, was an Earthquakes standout before making his way to Los Angeles just before the start of the 2005 season. Defender Todd Dunivant also played in San Jose. The Earthquakes boast ex-Galaxy performers like Chris Aloisi, Alejandro Moreno, Brian Ching, Brian Mullan, Craig Weibel and Danny Califf. Don’t expect any surprises today, simply because everyone knows each other so well. “We like the fact we get to play them here on Sunday … we look forward to it. This, I think, is the greatest rivalry in the entire league. I think both teams will play some very exciting soccer on Sunday.” But every conversation about the Galaxy’s chances must include one of the franchise’s greatest disappointments. It was the 2003 Western Conference quarterfinals and the Galaxy was coming off a 2-0 victory in the first game of the series. The Earthquakes trailed early, 2-0, in the second leg at Spartan Stadium before rallying for a stunning 5-4 victory on goal aggregate to advance to the conference semifinals. “It was probably the greatest game I’ve ever been a part of,” said Donovan, who was a member of the Earthquakes at the time. “Things don’t happen like that. At the time, you really don’t understand or appreciate what it’s about, but it was very special to be part of that. “It’s one of the top two or three moments I’ve had as a player.” Donovan, understandably, wouldn’t mind another one today, albeit with a green and gold tint. “We are a team that has shown we’re good enough to compete with this team and beat this team,” he said. “We’re very much looking forward to this game, as we do every year. “I think you’re going to see a very good series the next couple of weeks.” Larry Morgan can be reached at (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2272, or by e-mail at [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!