CARSON, Calif. – Robbie Keane’s touch might have been off a tad Saturday night, but it couldn’t have played out any better for the LA Galaxy.
He seemed to mishit the ball twice during crucial moments but both led to goals as the Galaxy, clearly back on track after a difficult trek to Columbus and Colorado, romped to a 2-0 triumph over visiting Vancouver at StubHub Center that wasn’t nearly as close as the scoreline suggests.
The Galaxy (11-5-7), who had conceded early goals in five of their six previous matches, went ahead through Landon Donovan in the fifth minute, doubled their lead via Marcelo Sarvas in the 32nd and cruised to three points that left them just shy of Western Conference tri-leaders FC Dallas, Real Salt Lake and Seattle Sounders.
Keane picked up assists on both goals, his 10th and 11th of the campaign, whether he meant to or not. He said he meant to, at least on Donovan’s strike at the start.
Keane stepped up to half-volley a clearance at the top of Vancouver’s box, and it bounced through traffic toward the left post, where Donovan poked it home.
"You’re always taught that as a kid, to hit it across the goal, and most of the time someone’s going to be there," the Galaxy’s captain said. "If they’re not there, then it’s no problem."
Sarvas’ goal didn’t play out as Keane hoped. The Brazilian midfielder had just back-heeled a Donovan feed into the middle, but Keane pushed it too hard with his right foot, and the ball rolled away, past two defenders and toward the left post, as he whiffed with he left foot.
Sarvas stepped up and slotted it under goalkeeper David Ousted and inside the far post.
"The second one, I did [mishit it], definitely," Keane said, laughing. "It was a complete mishit, but I’ll take the assist."
Sarvas didn’t see Keane struggle with the ball and wasn’t aware the Irishman had misplayed it until he met with media in the locker room.
"The situation came very fast," Sarvas said. "I passed to him, and when I turned, the ball was close to me and in front of the goal. It was very fast. I don’t know if he passed or tried to shoot."
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Sarvas celebrated the goal by sticking the ball under his shirt, to celebrate news that his wife, Camila, is pregnant with their second child.
"We find out two weeks ago that we’re going to have a baby, and from the last three games, I’m [telling] my wife if I score, I will celebrate like that," he said. "Today, God blessed me, and I was able to do it and dedicate for my future son or daughter."
The first-half goals were huge for LA, who had rallied for seven points – wins over Portland and Colorado and a draw with San Jose – after falling behind in the last three weeks.
"All the emphasis this week was on starting the right way," Donovan said. "It would have been fine to start right and play well and just not concede before halftime and go in [to the locker room] comfortable, but to get the two goals on top of that really helped. The only fault was not getting the third or the fourth. But other than that, I thought we played very well."