After dispatching the San Jose Earthquakes, champions LA Galaxy have their eyes set on Real Salt Lake
CARSON, Calif. -- Robbie Keane isn't one to look back, neither at the good nor the ill, so when the LA Galaxy opened a two-goal lead on San Jose in Saturday night's California Clasico showdown, he didn't consider all that could go wrong.
The scene might have seemed set for another Earthquakes comeback, like the two times they overcame two-goal deficits against LA to win last year or the spectacular comeback at Stanford Stadium in July, when Shea Salinas and Alan Gordon netted stoppage-time goals to claim an unexpected victory.
This time, the chances of a repeat were nil.
“You shouldn't be worried about what happened in the past,” Keane said after setting up Landon Donovan's opener, then scoring two goals of his own -- the first from the penalty spot -- as the Galaxy romped to a 3-0 triumph at the StubHub Center. “I'm certainly not one of those players that looks in the past, but we certainly know what [San Jose is] capable of doing. In the last few games we played them, we were at their place. When we get them here, we dominate, and that was the case tonight.”
The Galaxy dominated the last SoCal meeting between the clubs, a first-leg victory as they knocked the Supporters' Shield winner from the playoffs last year. But San Jose pulled off a comeback in the last regular-season game at StubHub, claiming a 3-2 decision on a Gordon header in stoppage time.
If Keane wasn't thinking about it, his teammates were.
“We talked about it at halftime,” Donovan said. “We're up, 2-0, but [against] this team, anything can happen. We wanted to make sure we played a full 90 minutes, and I think we've started to build that over the last few weeks. Not always perfect, but I think we're getting better and better. When we do that and we put together a complete game, we feel like we're going to win a lot of games.”
The Galaxy took charge when Donovan finished a Keane chip over the Earthquakes' backline in the 26th minute, and San Jose really wasn't in the game from that point. Gyasi Zardes, a terror on the left flank most of the night, won a penalty kick that Keane finished just before halftime, and LA had plenty of chances to add to it before the Irishman struck again in the 67th minute to round out the 3-0 scoreline.
LA has three straight league wins, four in all, for the first time this season, and they've solidified their second-place standing in the Western Conference. They are also just five points behind league leaders Real Salt Lake -- and with two games in hand.
“The team is playing well and full of confidence,” Donovan said. “I think we're defending well, we're attacking well, we're moving well, we're moving the ball well. Everything's clicking, and I think we felt when we had our full team together that this was possible, so we're real happy with how things are going and we want to keep making a push and try to catch Salt Lake.”
Scott French covers the LA Galaxy for MLSsoccer.com.