Landon Donovan added another footnote to his farewell season.
The star forward scored in just the fourth minute Saturday night to pad his career scoring record and lead the Galaxy to a 2-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps at StubHub Center.
Donovan, 32, announced Aug. 7 that he would retire after this season, his 14th in Major League Soccer. He now has 140 career goals in MLS play.
His latest came when teammate Robbie Keane sent a 20-yard pass across the front of the Vancouver goal and into Donovan’s path. As he was sliding toward the goal from three yards out, Donovan kicked the ball into the net with his left foot.
In the 32nd minute, as the Galaxy attacked the Whitecaps’ goal with a flurry of passes, midfielder Marcelo Sarvas took the final pass and converted with a score from the corner of the six-yard box to widen the Galaxy’s lead to 2-0.
The Galaxy nearly scored again in the 57th minute when defender Omar Gonzalez took Donovan’s corner kick and headed a sinking line drive from 12 yards out. But Vancouver midfielder Pedro Morales — who was standing alongside Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted — blocked the shot with his foot.
Vancouver’s best scoring attempt came in the 81st minute when Rapids forward Darren Mattocks drilled the ball from 12 yards, but Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo blocked the shot while diving to his right.
With the victory, the Galaxy — seeking its fifth MLS championship — is squarely in playoff contention with two months left in the regular season.
The top five teams in each conference qualify for the playoffs, and after Saturday night’s game the Galaxy (11-5-7) was fourth in the Western Conference, seven points ahead of the fifth-place Whitecaps (7-5-12).
The Galaxy also was only two points behind Seattle, FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake in the conference. “We’re all in that mix right now,” Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena said.
A turning point in the Galaxy’s season might have been the club’s come-from-behind, 4-3 victory over the Colorado Rapids last Wednesday.
The Galaxy had been soundly beaten in the prior game, a 4-1 loss to the Columbus Crew, and the Galaxy had allowed an additional three goals in the first half of its match with Colorado.
Arena then gave his players a tongue-lashing during halftime, a scolding that Donovan later said he couldn’t repeat without the threat of being fined by the league.
The Galaxy then scored three times in the second half in Colorado to defeat the Rapids — the last a goal by Donovan in the 80th minute — and the team maintained the momentum Saturday night against Vancouver.
Saturday’s game against Vancouver started a busy stretch for the Galaxy, which will play three games in nine days, all of them at StubHub Center. The Galaxy next faces D.C. United on Wednesday and Chivas USA on Aug. 31.