LA Galaxy thump Real Salt Lake to reach Western Conference final

Landon Donovan scored a hat trick as LA Galaxy claimed a 5-0 victory over Real Salt Lake in the second leg of their Western Conference semifinal series on Sunday night.

Jake Roth/Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Landon Donovan’s storied career in Major League Soccer isn’t over just yet, and that is thanks in large part to his personal contributions as LA Galaxy cruised to a 5-0 win over Real Salt Lake in the second leg of the Western Conference semifinal.

Donovan scored three goals and added an assist as his team utterly dominated RSL from start to finish, with Robbie Keane adding a goal and three assists along the way.

It took just under 10 minutes for Donovan to give the Galaxy the lead in the game and series after a 0-0 draw in the first leg. A quick combination let A.J. DeLaGarza slip in behind the RSL defense on the right edge of the six-yard box and he managed to flip a cross to the other side of the goal for Donovan to nod home.

Ten minutes later Donovan once again played a part as the home side doubled its lead. Another good bit of combination play set him free inside the box to the left of goal. His cut back found Keane, who did well to recover from an offside position just before the pass was played and slide home his team’s second. 

Donovan was on the board again in the 54th, this time with Keane playing the provider and slipping the Galaxy legend in down the left. Donovan, with a clear run at goal, rounded the onrushing Nick Rimando and tucked home his second goal of the night to give the Galaxy a commanding 3-0 lead. 

Keane, not to be outdone, added his second assist of the night in the 64th. Some sloppy defending from Salt Lake allowed Marcelo Sarvas to net the Galaxy’s fourth of the night, with Rimando left to fend for himself after the midfielder slipped past one challenge and was otherwise left alone to pick his spot. 

With the game already well in hand, Donovan rounded out his hat trick and Keane added his third assist in the 72nd minute. A scooped pass from Keane and a cool finish from Donovan with his first touch pushed the scoreline to 5-0. 

From there on it was a matter of playing out the string, though Donovan did pick up a yellow card in the 81st minute, before being subbed off to a rousing ovation in the 82nd.

The Galaxy now have just over a 24 hour wait to find out which team they will meet in the Western Conference final, with the Seattle Sounders and FC Dallas set to play the second leg of their conference semifinal on Monday.