by Alex Baker
(Carson, CA) – The Galaxy extended their four-game unbeaten streak with a 3-1 win over city rivals Chivas USA in Saturday night’s “El Clasico.” The fixture was played out in front of a 25,000+ crowd at the Home Depot Center, where both teams are based.
And while the scoreline was fairly emphatic, the reigning MLS champs put in a domineering performance and were in fact unlucky not to have scored more on the night.
Landon Donovan struck three minutes into the second half to double LA’s lead when he was played in on goal by Keane and calmly slid the ball past Kennedy to make it 2-0 in the 48th.
Chivas, who were officially the visiting side on the night, did little to truly trouble Galaxy keeper Josh Saunders. However their lone goal came in a moment of class courtesy of Paolo Cardozo. Under pressure at the top of the 18, the former Galaxy midfielder collected a pass and struck a low rocket of a shot through three Galaxy defenders and past Saunders to make it 2-1 in the 52nd.
But Donovan scored again in the 78th minute to take the game out of Chivas’ reach. After Kennedy pushed out a long range shot from LA midfielder Marcelo Sarvas, the Galaxy were awarded a corner. With service provided by David Beckham, Omar Gonzalez headed the ball to his fellow Galaxy defender Brian Gaul whose shot was blocked. But the rebound fell to Donovan who stuck it into the back of the net from point blank range.
For his part, Donovan terrorized the Chivas backline throughout the match, and might have doubled his goal tally on the evening had he not been twice denied by the post.
Keane also had chances to add to his goal tally, particularly in injury time when he connected with a ball from Donovan only to head it over the crossbar from point blank range.
Both Sarvas, and the Galaxy’s other Brazilian midfielder, Juninho also came close with long range efforts from outside the box.
Chivas coach Robin Fraser introduced Juan Pablo Angel in the 57th minute to replace an injured Ryan Smith. However the former Galaxy man failed to register a shot on target, despite being played through on goal several times.
The Galaxy’s only substitution came in the 81st minute when Sarvas was replaced by perennial holding midfielder, Michael Stephens.
With Saturday’s win, LA gain another valuable three points and consolidate their grip on the playoff berth that seemed like a long shot just a few weeks ago. LA will face EPL side Tottenham Hotspur in a friendly on Tuesday before returning to MLS action when they play away to FC Dallas on Saturday July 28th.
The reigning MLS champs currently sit fifth in the Western Conference table on 30 points, with the vanquished Chivas right below them on 23 points.