It took three strikes to knock out Toronto FC for good, but in truth the match was pretty much over when Landon Donovan fed A.J. DeLaGarza who sent a fantastic cross into Robbie Keane who smashed in a world class volley. The secondary assist was enough to set the MLS all-time record in that category, and Keane's brace continued his MVP form.
Landon Donovan getting assist 136 to set the MLS record was celebrated as the players went into the locker room at halftime. After the match, with the team on ten unbeaten and with their third straight win before going back out on the road, the atmosphere was celebratory. Omar Gonzalez climbed into the crowd with the Angel City Brigade and led chants. Alan Gordon drank a beer with the LA Riot Squad. No silverware has been won yet, but something special is starting to brew in Carson.
The 18th and 19th goals on the season for Keane, respectively, puts Keane a goal and an assist away from an incredible 20-15 season as the Irish forward continues to find ways to score and set up his strike partners. He'll miss the match in Dallas on international duty this weekend, but as Alan Gordon showed tonight the no. 3 forward on this club knows how to put one in the back of the net.
Landon Donovan is also going off on international duty, for a farewell match on Friday, but he will be back and available in Dallas. How exactly the schedule is going to shake out for that one hasn't been discussed yet, but it's good news for a midfield which will be without the services of Marcelo Sarvas who picked up a suspension for yellow card accumulation tonight. Despite the card, Sarvas' play was on point setting up Robbie Keane for his first goal and nearly setting up another with a great long ball from midfield.
LA have questions at every level of their formation, as tonight they had to start without Dan Gargan who is nursing a left ankle sprain. During the match the Galaxy lost their other starting fullback, Robbie Rogers, to a left hamstring injury. After the match Bruce Arena said Rogers could have continued but that the decision was made to pull him.
That spot is the only one which is truly in doubt, and luckily the Galaxy got a solid performance tonight out of Leonardo to cover for the absences. The back line played quite well in limiting Toronto's attack, blocking eight shots and limiting the Reds to just one on target shot the entire match.
The team did show fatigue in the second half, which is certainly a cause for concern as they continue a ten match unbeaten streak. That consistency is difficult to maintain, and certainly they run the risk of hitting a wall of fatigue in Dallas. The Galaxy go to bed tonight in first place, with Seattle playing tomorrow.
The chase is on in earnest. The suspense is terrible, and I hope it will last.