Carson, CA (SportsNetwork.com) – Landon Donovan scored three goals and
assisted on another as the Los Angeles Galaxy thrashed Real Salt Lake, 5-0, at
the StubHub Center on Sunday to advance to the Western Conference finals.
Sunday’s game started 0-0 on aggregate after a scoreless first leg in Salt
Lake, but the Galaxy quickly took control of the game with goals from Donovan
and Robbie Keane in the first 20 minutes.
Donovan then added a second goal to his total in the 54th to make it 3-0
before Marcelo Sarvas scored in the 63rd and Donovan completed his hat trick
in the 72nd to send Los Angeles to the conference finals for the fifth time in
the past six seasons, where the team will face either Seattle or FC Dallas.
Donovan got things going after 10 minutes when he arrived unmarked at the back
post to head home a nicely chipped ball from A.J. DeLaGarza.
The Galaxy had RSL under pressure for much of the first half, and Keane made
it 2-0 to the hosts when he slid in to redirect the ball into the net from
close range after Donovan played it through the face of goal.
Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando produced a nice stop on Gyasi Zardes near
the end of the first half to keep his side within two goals, but the Galaxy
soon added to their lead in the 54th.
Keane collected the ball in midfield and played it down the left to Donovan,
who got in behind the defense and rounded Rimando before slotting the ball
into the empty net.
Sarvas scored in the 63rd after being set up by Keane, and the Irishman
assisted on his third goal of the match in the 72nd to help Donovan tally his
third goal, marking the first hat trick in the MLS playoffs since 1999.