The LA Galaxy defeated the San Jose Earthquakes 3-2 on aggregate in the Western Conference semi-finals Wednesday night to advance to the Western Conference final. The Galaxy won the match in Santa Clara 3-1 to win the series outright without added extra time.
This is the fourth straight year the Galaxy have made the Western Conference final, a feat the franchise last pulled off from 1999-2002. This was the first time the Galaxy have ever beaten the Quakes at home in an MLS Cup playoff match. The last such match was in 2005, when the teams played to a 1-1 draw as the Galaxy marched to the 2005 title with Landon Donovan.
The match winner was scored by Robbie Keane in the 34', the Galaxy striker managing a brace on the evening. Landon Dononvan dribbled in from the right flank, then played the ball through back to the right to Robbie Keane who ran into the negative space. Keane smashed the ball home with his right foot to cap off a successful fastbreak counter.
The series winner was scored by Mike Magee in the 39'. Landon Donovan sent in the ball from the right corner, and Magee was able to redirect the ball with his right foot on a dead run to give the Galaxy a 3-0 lead. That would be enough to carry the Galaxy through to the next round of the playoffs.
The Quakes tried to muster up some late match luck, once again scoring after the 75 mark. Once again, it was Alan Gordon with a sloppy bad looking play that kept the ball bouncing on past Josh Saunders. It wasn't pretty, but it made the final ten minutes extremely nervy.
The Galaxy were able to hold on, as Omar Gonzalez and Tommy Meyer both had extremely well played games. Their counterpart on San Jose Victor Bernardez had to leave the match early, which had a significant impact on the rest of the match. LA took advantage of his absence right away and relentlessly.
Keane's first goal came from about 25 yards out. He was given enough space to just let the ball roll in the 21', a ball that skipped along taking out daisies and eventually putting the Galaxy on the board to ease the tension.
The LA Galaxy will host the winner of the Real Salt Lake - Seattle Sounders series on Sunday. That series is currently knotted at no goals a piece, with the return leg to be played in Salt Lake tomorrow. More information to come as it's learned.
For now, eat, drink, and be merry.