Last year the LA Galaxy turned away all challengers, becoming Major League Soccer Champs. This year has been a struggle. Captain Landon Donovan has complained of motivation problems. And the team posted a losing record well into the season.
Nevertheless, as the 4th seed, the Galaxy reached the playoffs again after winning a knockout game against 5th seeded Vancouver last week.
But in the Western Conference semi-final, they faced the San Jose Earthquakes: the number one seed, the team with the best record in the entire league, a team they had yet to beat in 3 tries this season.
After losing the first of the two-game series 1-0 on Sunday at their home field – the Home Depot Center in Torrance – Beckham, Donovan, Keane and Co had their work cut out for them in the second and final game of the series. They had to go to San Jose’s Buck Shaw stadium, where the Earthquakes were undefeated this season, and beat them by at least two goals.
And, what do you know, that’s exactly what they did, scoring 3 unanswered goals in the first half and holding on to win the game 3-1 in front of a packed stadium of stunned and disappointed San Jose fans.
The Galaxy needed a big night from the team’s stars, and the stars delivered. Irish forward Robbie Keane is in the argument for best forward in the league this season, and he showed why by scoring two quality goals in the 21st and 34th minutes. And motivation did not seem to be a problem for Landon Donovan who played perhaps his strongest game of the season, setting up Keane’s second goal and another goal by Mike Magee.
David Beckham, having one of his best seasons in Los Angeles, has not yet decided whether he will come back to the Galaxy next year. After six years in LA, the 37-year-old midfielder is contemplating soccer retirement. But thanks to last night’s win, fans will see him play at least one more game this Sunday night at the Home Depot Center. That’s when the Galaxy will face the winner of the other Western Conference semi-final between Real Salt Lake and the Seattle Sounders, which concludes tonight.
Bring it on!