CARSON, Calif. – Robbie Rogers made history Sunday night, becoming the first openly gay athlete to play in a major North American men's sports league. But Robbie Keane stole his thunder with a first-half hat trick as the LA Galaxy pummeled the visiting Seattle Sounders, 4-0.
Sean Franklin finished a Keane feed in the 12th minute and Keane tallied in the 24th, 34th and 44th – the last two on penalty kicks – as the Galaxy dominated the first 45 minutes in their most lopsided victory over the Sounders since a 4-0 rout three years ago in Seattle.
Rogers, who signed with the Galaxy this weekend after they acquired his rights from the Chicago Fire in exchange for midfielder Mike Magee, came on in the 77th minute for Juninho to a rousing ovation from a Home Depot Center crowd of 24,811. He had a few touches on the ball and completed a pass in the corner in his first taste of real action in months.
Keane's hat trick was his first in MLS and the Galaxy's 18th and it sent LA (6-4-2) past Colorado into fourth place in the Western Conference. Seattle (4-4-3) saw their six-game unbeaten run come to a grinding halt.
Franklin netted his first goal of the season after a corner kick was cleared to Greg Cochrane well above the box. He fed Keane, who played a give-and-go with Marcelo Sarvas, racing toward the right byline to collect the ball. Keane beat Jhon Kennedy Hurtado on the dribble and whipped the ball into the goalmouth for Franklin to tap home.
Keane's first goal arrived after a short corner, with Donovan sending in a bristling cross from the right wing. It hit Omar Gonzalez, ricocheted off Brad Evans and fell to Keane, who slotted to the right side of the net.
LA put the game away from the penalty spot, with Keane taking over the PK kick duties from Donovan, who has missed twice in 1-0 losses this season.
Gyasi Zardes, whose speed repeatedly stretched Seattle's backline, won the first one after he was beaten to a ball in the box by Sounders center back Djimi Traoré, whose follow-through with his trail leg felled the rookie.
Michael Gspurning stopped Keane's kick, a poorly taken attempt not far off center, but referee Baldomero Toledo whistled Mauro Rosales for encroachment into the box, and Keane put his second try to the right side of the net.
Keane netted his third 10 minutes later, beating Gspurning to the left side after Evans took down Juninho from behind on a Zardes pass from the left byline.
Sounders midfielder Shalrie Joseph was red-carded in the 87th minute after making contact with Sarvas' face near midfield. There had been an altercation in the 80th minute, with Joseph hitting Sarvas in the face, with no cards issued.
LA next head to Cary, N.C., for Wednesday's US Open Cup third-round game against the NASL's Carolina RailHawks, then play next Sunday at New England. Seattle travel for an Open Cup clash Wednesday against the NASL's Tampa Bay Rowdies, then return to Carson to take on Chivas USA on Saturday.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Robbie Keane (LA)||A no-brainer. Even without the PKs, Irish DP was a one-man wrecking crew against hapless Sounders.|
|2||Marcelo Sarvas (LA)||Is he LA's MVP this season? Constant runs got under Seattle midfield's skin – especially Shalrie Joseph's.|
|3||Gyasi Zardes (LA)||Didn't figure onto score sheet, but Homegrown starlet showed tantalizing glimpses of big potential.|