On a emotional Sunday afternoon celebrating the return of Landon Donovan while remembering the events of 9-11, the LA Galaxy soundly defeated Orlando City SC 4-2 at an electric StubHub Center.
#LAGalaxy XI: Rowe; Rogers, Steres, Van Damme, Cole; Mendiola, Lletget, Garcia, Boateng; Dos Santos; Gordon #LAvORL pic.twitter.com/7UhRJXQUs8— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) September 11, 2016
LA’s first dangerous opportunity came when Lletget and dos Santos played a nice give-and-go in the box, with Lletget looping the ball to Santos and the El Tri international putting in a marvelous low cross, but Luke Boden beat Alan Gordon to the empty net.
Shockingly, Orlando City scored first against the run of play when Servando Carrasco beat the Galaxy offsides trap, and although Jelle Van Damme blocked Cyle Larin’s initial shot, Kevin Molino was there to neatly put away the rebound.
In the 35th minute, LA would equalize when Brian Rowe quickly distributed to Van Damme, and after Van Damme located Emmanuel Boateng with space and the winger raced down the flank, Boateng squared to a streaking dos Santos for the tap-in, capping a beautiful 10 second counter-attack.
.@OficialGio is feeling it. https://t.co/aEYGKqUDtW #LAvORL pic.twitter.com/LNs78Okmfh— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) September 11, 2016
Dos Santos, who has been on fire as of late, hustled to make himself available off a corner kick, and after Gio played a short pass to Van Damme, the attacking center back executed a perfect cross, and this time Gordon was first to the ball, using his chest to power the ball home.
This. Was. Nice. https://t.co/aEYGKqUDtW #LAvORL pic.twitter.com/Yp8Ez4wneK— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) September 12, 2016
LA weren’t done. Shortly after Gordon and OCSC defender Jose Aja got into it, the center back recklessly challenged Gordon right inside the box, drawing a penalty kick that Gio easily converted.
It officially became a party in the 70th minute when Sebastian Lletget sliced the Orlando City back line with a single pass and dos Santos slid the ball to substitute Robbie Keane for the fourth tally, as chants of “We Want Landon” echoed throughout the stadium.
Return of the King. https://t.co/aEYGKqUDtW #LAvORL pic.twitter.com/ciV1sYU56g— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) September 12, 2016
Late in the match, Rowe had a acrobatic save on a Brek Shea blast to preserve LA’s healthy lead, then moments later a chaotic sequence ended with Matias Perez Garcia blasting a shot off the crossbar.
In the 83rd minute, Landon Donovan was subbed on to a thunderous standing ovation as the match died out. However with seconds remaining in stoppage time, Shea would score to spare OCSC’s blushes.
With the win, LA vault to 2nd place in the Western Conference, trailing FC Dallas by four points in the standings.