New England Soccer Today

The Stars Align in L.A.

A trio of Galaxy goalscorers ensured that the Supporters’ Shield winners would get the benefit of home cooking for the MLS Cup Final as L.A. beat Real Salt Lake 3-1 Sunday night at the Home Depot Center.

Landon Donovan (23′), Mike Magee (58′), and Robbie Keane (68′) all scored for the home squad as the Galaxy will return to their home park for MLS Cup, which, coincidentally, is being held at the Home Depot Center on November 20th. Alvaro Saborio (25′) secured the lone goal for Salt Lake, who surged late, but failed to close the gap.

In a rematch of the 2009 Cup final, which Salt Lake upset the Galaxy to earn their first Cup in franchise history, the guests came out firing on all cylinders.  Robbie Russell fired away on Josh Saunders in the 5th minute, but the Galaxy goalkeeper denied the effort.

But Salt Lake essentially handed their hosts the lead when Andy Williams brought down Omar Gonzalez in the 18 and gave the Galaxy the penalty. Donovan didn’t miss to make it a 1-0 game by the midway point of the first frame.

Salt Lake responded two minutes later in 25th minute when Saborio poached the remnants of a Javier Morales corner and pushed it past Saunders to level it and give his squad a much needed lift.

Coming out of the locker room for the second half, both teams stood 45 minutes from a return to their first MLS Cup since their previous finals meeting. It boiled down to one question: who wanted it more?

That answer came within a ten minute span, when Mike Magee nodded a David Beckham corner through in the 58th minute and Robbie Keane converted a Donovan to pad the Galaxy lead in the 68th minute.

Any idea that the guests would go quietly evaporated in the waning minutes. Substitute Luis Gil made a few heady runs and tested Saunders late. But each time, the Galaxy keeper came up clutch and preserved the 3-1 scoreline as the Galaxy will play in their seventh MLS Cup final in two weeks.

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