Robbie Keane’s three goals spark Galaxy, 4-2
It wasn’t a must-win situation and yet for the full 90 minutes the Galaxy played with the desperation and intensity of a team facing playoff elimination in Saturday night’s Western Conference showdown with league-leading Real Salt Lake.
The result was a 4-2 victory that boosted the reigning Major League Soccer champions from fifth to fourth place in the standings in front of a noisy 24,237 at StubHub Center in Carson.
After scoring his 28th career regular-season goal in the 86th minute to complete his second hat trick of the season, Robbie Keane did a somersault and motioned to the fans, who gave him a standing ovation when he was subbed out during injury time.
His three-goal effort came six days after Landon Donovan notched his fourth career trifecta in a 3-3 draw at FC Dallas.
“We’ve been underachieving a bit, to be honest,” Keane said. “So hopefully this will kick us in the right direction and we’ll be better the rest of the year.”
Keane also scored three goals in a 4-0 triumph over Seattle on May 26 -- the same night Robbie Rogers made his Galaxy debut to become the first openly gay male athlete to play in an American professional team sport.
Despite dominating from the opening whistle, the Galaxy was unable to finish several quality scoring opportunities in the first half against Real Salt Lake (12-8-5), which began the game with a league-best 41 points.
The Galaxy finished with a 23-13 advantage in shots and earned 11 corner kicks.
Joao Plata slipped the ball through the legs of goalkeeper Jaime Pinedo to give the visitors a 1-0 lead in the 53rd minute, but it took only three minutes for Keane to score the equalizer on a low shot after getting past defender Carlos Salcedo with a nifty move.
Donovan nearly put the Galaxy (11-9-4) ahead a minute later but defender Chris Wingert chested the ball off the line with goalkeeper Nick Rimando out of position.
In the 67th minute, Keane re-directed a cross from Sean Franklin by Rimando to give the Galaxy a 2-1 lead and give him his seventh multi-goal game, all with the Galaxy.
“Them scoring first is what did it,” Keane said. “We were playing well early but overall this was a good performance. We scored four goals against a very good team.”
Defender Omar Gonzalez, who was named the Galaxy’s third designated player Wednesday, added an insurance goal off a corner kick in the 75th minute and the Galaxy was well on its way to its second victory in three meetings with Real Salt Lake, which cut the deficit to two goals on Robbie Findley’s goal just before the final whistle.
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