The LA Galaxy defeated Real Salt Lake 4-2 in front of a crowd of 24,237 at the StubHub Center Saturday night. Robbie Keane was the hero on the night with a hat trick, and Omar Gonzalez got on the scoring record as well in his first match as the Galaxy's third Designated Player
With eleven on target shots, the Galaxy went at Nick Rimando with a fast and furious pace. Not only were there the four goals on one of the best keepers in MLS, but two potential goals had to be saved off the line by Salt Lake defenders. That's a solid majority of shots on target that were able to beat the keeper. LA put the ball where Rimando wasn't, and they did it frequently.
They didn't come out that strong, with the teams going into halftime dead even at 0-0. Joao Plata opened up the scoring with a goal for RSL off a bad giveaway, but LA was able to come back with four unanswered goals beginning with Keane's goal just three minutes later.
"The game slowed down a bit [in the second half]," said Bruce Arena. "I think it helped bring Robbie [Keane] into the game; I think Robbie was a little bit off on his touch in the first half. I think despite the fact that we went down a goal our players played with confidence, they passed better; for whatever reason in the first half our passing was a little bit sloppy. I think in the second half we continued to show energy and our passing was better."
RSL and LA ended up about even on pass accuracy, although Salt Lake did out pass LA. Where LA was able to show their class was passing in the attacking area. The Galaxy were successful on 46.2% of their crosses and had an accuracy of 73.3% in the attacking third (and 44 more attempted passes). Once LA got its passing together, their ability to keep the match in the attacking half paid off dividends.
Robbie Keane's three goals came from three different phases of the game. His first was a rocket from outside the box, then he ran onto a Sean Franklin cross in the penalty area. His final goal started outside the box, where he chipped a floater over the head of Nick Rimando and into the back of the net.
Landon Donovan didn't continue his goalscoring form Dallas, but he did send in the corner kick that Omar Gonzalez redirected into the back of the net. Gonzalez was able to find himself with space on set pieces for the first time in weeks, although on his goal Nat Borchers did a fair amount of grabbing.
The victory against the current Western Conference and Supporter's Shield winners tightened up both races with only four points separating LA from the top. Colorado and Portland achieved victory to remain ahead of LA, as this race starts to look like it's going to go down to the wire.