CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy's inconsistency in front of the net has prevented them from turning dominant performances into points all season, but they appear to have turned a corner on that. And that's not good news for their foes.
LA ran wild in the second half Saturday night against Supporters' Shield-leading Real Salt Lake, with Robbie Keane's hat trick pacing a 4-2 triumph, and they could have had two more but for goal-line saves by Chris Wingert and Abdoulie Mansally.
Add in Landon Donovan's hat trick a week ago, and LA have hit the net seven times in their last two games.
“I think it's going to be difficult going forward for teams to play against us,” said Donovan, who picked up his 114th career assist on Omar Gonzalez's header for the third goal, pulling even with Carlos Valderrama for the No. 2 spot on the all-time MLS list. “They clearly put some emphasis on trying to shut me down tonight, and if you do that, you're going to get punished by Robbie.
"If you try to put emphasis on both of us, then we get Gyasi [Zardes] back going again, Hector [Jimenez] played well, Juninho and Marcelo [Sarvas] were dangerous going forward. I would certainly not want to be a defensive back four or five playing against our team right now.”
The Galaxy (11-9-4), who vaulted to four place, just four points off the lead, were dominant all night, but they didn't start clicking up top until after halftime. Keane pulled LA back from a 1-0 deficit with a terrific goal in the 56th minute – he took a long pass from Juninho near the top of RSL's box, cut the ball back to send teenage defender Carlos Salcedo sprawling to the turf, then fired inside the right post – volleyed in Sean Franklin's cross for a 2-1 lead 11 minutes later, then finished a Franklin ball over the top in the 86th minute.
“Robbie was Robbie,” Donovan said. “He can do that on any given night. Which is crazy, but he can. If we get him the ball in the right spots, he's going to make plays, and he was terrific.”
Keane was pleased mostly by the result.
“It's always nice to score goals, but the most important thing is the three points,” Keane said. “And after going a goal behind we showed a lot of character to come back and get four goals in the end, because you have to win the game.”
Arena said he thought Keane's touch was off in the first half, but “the game slowed down a little bit [in the second half], and I think it helped bring Robbie into the game. ... If Robbie Keane gets enough chances, he's going to get some goals. Landon as well, and I think Gyasi is going to come around and get some goals for us as well.”