1. The defending champs are peaking at exactly the right time – and rendering the regular season almost meaningless.
It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. The LA Galaxy are certainly sticking to that adage after blowing out the Supporters’ Shield winners on their own turf – San Jose’s first loss at Buck Shaw Stadium in 19 matches.
Gone is the 3-8-2 start that had some wondering whether the defending MLS Cup champs would even make the playoffs. Gone is the late-season swoon where the goals went missing and more panic arose after A.J. DeLaGarza went down to injury.
LA are showing why they have arguably the greatest collection of pure talent in league history. Everyone was flying on Wednesday night, from Robbie Keane all the way back to rookie center back Tommy Meyer and goalkeeper Josh Saunders. If the Galaxy keep playing like this, no one is going to stop them.
2. The inability to finish finally caught up to San Jose.
The Quakes had their opportunities not only to get back into this game, but to steal back their aggregate advantage. But the agony of watching Chris Wondolowski put easy chances off frame in the regular-season finale at Portland continued into the playoffs. And it’s not much good having a Golden Boot winner and record-setter when he can’t convert when he’s needed most.
Wondo will see his misses on Wednesday night in his sleep, especially the one he skied way over the goal in the 26th minute with Saunders splayed out on the ground. He converts that and we’re even at 1-1 and it’s a totally different ball game. Steven Lenhart’s header that went wide just two minutes later was more of the same, and indicative of the Quakes’ night.
3. Landon Donovan has us all fooled.
Either The Art of War is his bible or it’s all just a freaky coincidence. Every time Donovan gives an interview where he seems to ponder whether he’s just totally over the game and is near the end of his rope, he goes out and explodes with a dominant performance.
Seven months ago, he said his passion was dwindling and then promptly deposited a hat trick on Scotland. Last week, he said he needed an extended break. And then on Wednesday night, he delivered a gem of an outing that makes you think he could play until he’s 40. Donovan knifed through the San Jose defense and won foot race after foot race, delivering two gorgeous assists to Keane and Mike Magee.
Like the old saying goes, “Fool me once…”