There's a case to be made that the Galaxy's game against D.C. United on Wednesday might have been a preview of this year's Major League Soccer title match, the MLS Cup.
If so, the Galaxy would like the game's outcome to prove true as well.
Newly acquired forward Alan Gordon scored 67 seconds into the game — the quickest goal for the Galaxy this season — and the Galaxy never relinquished the lead as it rolled past D.C. United, 4-1, at StubHub Center.
This was the only regular-season match between the clubs and the Galaxy extended its unbeaten streak against D.C. United to 10 games (five wins and five ties).
The Galaxy (12-5-7) also climbed to second place in the Western Conference, two points behind first-place Seattle, while D.C. United (13-8-4) sits atop the Eastern Conference.
The top five teams in each conference at the end of the regular season qualify for the playoffs.
Robbie Keane, the Galaxy's leading scorer this season with 13 goals, did not play Wednesday because of an injury in the prior game that Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena declined to identify. But Arena said Keane “might be available on Sunday” when the Galaxy plays Chivas USA at StubHub Center.
So Gordon started at forward in Keane's place.
Gordon, who played for the Galaxy earlier in his career, rejoined the club this month after being acquired from the San Jose Earthquakes.
As the game's second minute began, a ball that ricocheted between two D.C. United players in front of the D.C. United goal rolled free to Gordon, who kicked it in from 10 yards.
“We're happy to have him,” Galaxy star Landon Donovan said of Gordon. “It's pretty obvious how good he's been and what an impact he makes.”
But Donovan said “the biggest catalyst” for the Galaxy's success “is when we defend well it puts us into positions going the other way” toward opponents' goals.
The Galaxy's second goal came in the 25th minute when Donovan's corner kick found Omar Gonzalez, who stuck his right foot around a defender to drive the ball past goalkeeper Bill Hamid from 15 yards out.
In stoppage time after the first half ended, Galaxy midfielder Baggio Husidic scored the team's third goal from eight yards off a pass from A.J. DeLaGarza.
D.C. United got on the board in the 58th minute courtesy of an own goal by Galaxy defender Leonardo. He was tangled up with D.C. United's Eddie Johnson in front of the goal when D.C. United's Alex Caskey's shot from 20 yards bounced off him into the net.
In the 75th minute the Galaxy was awarded a penalty kick from 12 yards, which Donovan drilled past Hamid to lift his MLS career scoring record to 141 goals.
Donovan, 32, recently announced that this would be his final season as a player.
“Landon's obviously committed to complete his career in the right manner,” Arena said. “His leadership and quality tonight was terrific.”Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times