Before the Galaxy routed the Colorado Rapids, 6-0, on Friday night, the crowd at StubHub Center was asked to observe a moment of silence.
Earlier in the day the Galaxy had announced that Luca DeLaGarza, the week-old son of Galaxy defender A.J. DeLaGarza, died Thursday.
Luca DeLaGarza was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, in which the left side of the heart is critically underdeveloped.
Star forward Landon Donovan, Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena and the rest of the team wore black armbands with “Luca” stitched on them in white. And in the match’s 20th minute — A.J. DeLaGarza wears No. 20 — the crowd honored the infant once more by standing.
By then, Colorado starting goalkeeper Joe Nasco was long gone, having been ejected with a red card for a serious foul only 40 seconds into the game, the earliest red card in Major League Soccer history.
Donovan converted the penalty kick — past Clint Irwin, who had just replaced Nasco as goalkeeper — to give the Galaxy a 1-0 lead.
Then Donovan pulled off his “Luca” armband, held it up to his chest and kissed it as his teammates swarmed him in celebration.
“Any time you have a teammate that’s going through something it’s emotional,” Galaxy President Chris Klein said of DeLaGarza. “All we could do is come around him as his extended family and support him as best we could.”
The 26-year-old DeLaGarza, in his sixth season with the Galaxy, did not play Friday night. Earlier in the day, he said on Twitter that “heaven gained another angel yesterday.” Luca was the first child for DeLaGarza and his wife, Megan.
Friday’s victory was the Galaxy’s fifth consecutive win, with Donovan, forward Gyasi Zardes and midfielder Baggio Husidic each scoring twice. It also was the Galaxy’s biggest margin of victory since the club defeated Dallas, 8-1, in June 1998.
Zardes is now tied with Robbie Keane for the team lead in goals with 14. (Keane was away Friday playing for the Irish national team.)
As the game opened, Zardes and Alan Gordon were in front of Colorado’s goal trying to maneuver the ball in when Gordon got behind Nasco. Nasco turned and pulled Gordon down by the legs, drawing the red card.
The prior earliest red card in MLS history occurred in 2009, when New York Red Bulls defender Carlos Johnson drew one in the second minute against Kansas City.
Husidic scored his first goal in the 30th minute when he took a pass from Gordon and kicked a 15-yard grounder inside the far post.
Zardes scored the Galaxy’s third goal in first-half stoppage time, drilling home a left-footer from eight yards after taking a pass from Donovan.
As the second half opened, the Galaxy got another penalty kick when Zardes was fouled in the 18-yard-box. Donovan again converted for his second goal, and his MLS career scoring record now stands at 143 goals.
Zardes got his second goal of the game in the 75th minute with a header after taking a long cross pass from Stefan Ishizaki. And Husidic scored again in the 86th minute with another assist from Donovan.