The Los Angeles Galaxy advanced to the Western Conference finals Sunday evening after a dominating display against what was once the Galaxy's "jinx" team Real Salt Lake. Landon Donovan took the spotlight once again at the Stub Hub Center but this time for the proper reasons. Much has been critiqued on the conduct of Landon Donovan's retirement at the ripe old age of 32. This time in the Western Conference semifinals many again were talking about the Galaxy number ten but instead of his retirement the talk was his hat trick and one assist in the Galaxy's 5-0 victory against RSL.
Much has been discussed of the Los Angeles Galaxy going into the Western Conference playoffs being pitted against Real Salt Lake. Real Salt Lake last year defeated the Galaxy in the two-legged affair 2-1. During the regular season each side recorded a win in Carson and tied 1-1 the one time in Salt Lake City. The first leg in Utah of the semifinals ended in a 0-0 draw which in retrospect could of been a big disadvantage to the Galaxy as an away goal scored by Real Salt Lake would give the upper hand to the visitors.
The match in the Stub Hub Center Sunday opened up rather quick, in the eleventh minute Landon Donovan would score the first goal for the Galaxy. Wonderful switch of play by the Galaxy found Ishizaki on the right wing, the Swede opened space for Sarvas to feed the running De la Garza. AJ crossed the ball on his first touch over to the open Landon Donovan to head the ball in pass Rickets. The second goal for LA came from the Irish international Robbie Keane, after not being able to capitalize on a build up, Juninho was able to beautifully feed Donovan who fed the ball into the barely onside Keane to make it 2-0.
The halftime whistle echoed throughout Stub Hub with the Galaxy on top 2-0 and stewing in two other missed opportunities by Donovan and Zardes. After the restart it took a further nine minutes for Donovan to grab his second goal. Robbie Keane superbly split the defense for the on running Landon the Galaxy legend then rounded Ricketts and dispatched his shot pass the three rushing defenders, 3-0.
The game appeared to be done and dusted at that moment being 3-0 and Real Salt Lake looked in fact very shell shocked throughout the entire game. The fourth and killing goal arrived in the 63rd minute when once again the Galaxy were searching and passing their way into space. Rogers passed the ball into Keane, which the Galaxy captain again fed the ball to Sarvas who was on a run into the Real Salt Lake box. Sarvas beat his defender and easily dispatched the ball into the back of the net to make it 4-0. The evening would become a more memorable for Landon Donovan in the 72nd minute. Keane would elegantly scoop the ball over the top of the Real Salt defense for Donovan to one time it for his hat trick and the extra insurance policy for the LA Galaxy.
The Los Angeles Galaxy ran riot Sunday evening and definitely made a statement to the winner of Monday’s Western Conference semifinal, the Seattle Sounders. After the match Donovan spoke about retiring as a champion again and that "that's the goal." Landon Donovan definitely made it a night to remember for the Galaxy fans as the songs of "one more year" and "Oh Landon Donovan" rang through Stub Hub Center. Hopefully the Galaxy will achieve glory in the MLS Cup to give back to their fans and for Donovan to retire “on a high note.”