CARSON, Calif. -- It had to come down to this.
The LA Galaxy's old foe, Seattle Sounders FC will stand in-between LA and another trip to the MLS Cup after the Sounders advanced past FC Dallas on Monday. Fresh off their own triumph over Real Salt Lake that saw LA hang five goals on the Claret-and-Cobalt, the Galaxy returned to training on Tuesday with the Sounders in mind.
"We were hoping for this as well. It's going to be a very good series and be very similar to what we saw a couple weeks back. May the better team win," said forward Alan Gordon. "We're focused and we want to put in a good performance against a good team."
But after the Sounders won the Supporters' Shield by defeating the Galaxy last month is there a need for LA to exact any revenge?
"We never approach games like it's revenge," said head coach Bruce Arena. "That's child psychology. We go out to play hard and win regardless of who we're playing."
LA Galaxy issue warning to FC Dallas/Seattle Sounders FC series winner ahead of Western Conference Finals
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the fifth time in six years on Sunday with their 5-0 victory over Real Salt Lake, but their opponent in that series remains a mystery.
LA will play the winner of the FC Dallas/Seattle Sounders FC series which will be decided on Monday at CenturyLink Field. Seattle need only a victory or a scoreless draw to advance while FC Dallas must defeat the Supporters’ Shield winners or earn a high scoring draw.
Both teams gave the Galaxy all they could handle in the regular season with LA winning the season series with Dallas 2-1-0 while splitting their three matches with Seattle 1-1-1. Given those records, is there a preference for the Galaxy as they seek to qualify for a third MLS Cup in four seasons?
Not at all.
“Between Seattle and Dallas, they gave us a lot of problems during the season so we’ll watch the game very closely tomorrow,” said hat trick hero Landon Donovan. “We’ll be sure to get proper rest this week and we’ll be ready to go.”
Even though the Galaxy had struggled results wise with a four game winless streak prior to their explosion on Sunday, LA believe their clicking at the right time as they look to their next opponent.
“I know that we haven’t had good results, but even against Seattle we had moments that were very good. We did break down at the end, but they sat back and defended against us in Seattle, which is weird,” said Robbie Rogers. “We’re confident in whomever we play be it Seattle or Dallas that we can compete.
“I think that anyone has to come into a stadium where the last team lost 5-0, they know it’s going to be difficult, but it is the playoffs so anyone can win.”
But Stefan Ishizaki, who shined in his start against Salt Lake, offered the tersest message to LA’s future opponents.
CARSON, Calif. – Robbie Keane has been hobbled with a hamstring strain for several weeks, but during the LA Galaxy’s 5-0 demolition of Real Salt Lake, you’d have no idea that the club’s dynamic Irishman was carrying a knock.
Keane scored his eighth postseason goal in just his 14th playoff appearance in the Galaxy victory while also adding three assists to bring his career total to six since joining LA in 2011. Even though Keane’s ability to exploit the spaces provided by the Salt Lake defense appeared unhindered, the Irishman admitted after the game that he was in less than stellar condition.
“Honestly, I felt awful before the game,” Keane said. “Bad back for the last two days. Bad hamstring. I wasn't feeling great until the game started moving.”
Once the whistle blew, Keane seemed fit as a fiddle as he assisted on two goals by Landon Donovan as well as Marcelo Sarvas’ lone tally to lift the Galaxy to a comfortable result over the visitors.
“We knew we had to get the first goal. In the first ten minutes, we knew we had to get the first goal. Once we got that, they opened up even more and we got the second one early as well. I think for them then the game was over,” said Keane. “They had to go for goal, so obviously there was a lot of space for us to counterattack and defend well. That's the reason we won the game. We showed intensity from the start to the finish.”
Even though Keane is carrying a number of knocks, there will be little time to rest for the Irishman who will join up with the Republic of Ireland for their upcoming Euro 2016 qualifier against Scotland at Celtic Park in Glasgow on Nov. 14 before playing the U.S. National Team four days later in London.
Keane is scheduled to return to the Galaxy prior to their Western Conference Finals first leg against the winner of the Seattle Sounders FC/FC Dallas series.
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy booked their ticket to the Western Conference Finals for the fifth time in six years on Sunday with a 5-0 trouncing of Real Salt Lake in their Western Conference Semifinal second leg.
LA will play the winner of Monday night's match between FC Dallas and Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field. The match will take place at 7:30 p.m. PT and will air on NBCSN.
Before you pay any attention to that one, however, relive the Galaxy victory through the stunningly awesome photos from the Mora Photography crew.
Check them out below.
CARSON, Calif. -- On Sunday, Landon Donovan became the third player in MLS history to notch a hat trick in the MLS Cup Playoffs as the LA Galaxy crushed Real Salt Lake 5-0 to advance to the Western Conference Finals.
As stellar as Donovan's showing was, viewing the performance through the lens of LAGalaxy.com's Albert Lanzillo is sure to provide a few goosebumps.
Check it out above.
CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena addressed the media following his team's 5-0 Western Conference Semifinal second leg victory over Real Salt Lake.
CARSON, Calif. – A year ago this week, the LA Galaxy saw their “Quest for Three” consecutive MLS Cups fall short against Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium. This Sunday, it will be Salt Lake traveling to StubHub Center with the chance to eliminate the Galaxy from the postseason and prevent them from being the “First to Five” MLS Cup titles.
Salt Lake simply need a draw in which goals are scored or a victory to end LA’s postseason dreams while the Galaxy need a win or a penalty kick shootout victory to advance.
A year ago, it was the Galaxy who needed a win or a draw in which goals were scored to go through after winning the first leg at StubHub Center 1-0 on a Sean Franklin screamer from distance. However, in the windy Utah conditions, the Galaxy found themselves overmatched as the Claret-and-Cobalt found goals from Sebastian Velasquez and Chris Schuler to defeat LA after 120 minutes.
Although the Galaxy find themselves in a similar situation against Salt Lake, Robbie Keane believes LA are stronger than the team that crashed out of the playoffs a year ago.
“We’re certainly in better position than last year in terms of the players that we have this year,” said Keane. “We have more experienced players and the players that we had last year are a year old and a year better. In terms of that, we’re good with the experience that we have.”
Added Robbie Rogers, “It does feel different. We went on the road last year and I think that there is a little more excitement when you’re in front of your home fans and while we were all up for it in Salt Lake, we know our record at home and what type of attractive soccer that we can play here. We just want to take them out of their comfort zone and show we can perform at home.”
While Keane and Rogers admitted that the team feels different than the one that failed to advance, Marcelo Sarvas disagreed, but noted that LA’s experience could tip the balance on Sunday.
“Every year is different and you can’t compare teams because they have different players who are in different moments,” said Sarvas. “But we have been through this before. We know how it is to play against Salt Lake…Now we’re at our home and we’re going to go for goals and go to win the game.”
Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane among those featured in four LA Galaxy hype videos for Real Salt Lake clash
LAGalaxy.com produced four hype videos for this Sunday's Western Conference Semifinal second leg clash with Real Salt Lake over the past week.
The videos which were produced by Galaxy videographer Albert Lanzillo feature Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane, Jaime Penedo, and Gyasi Zardes
Check them out below.
Robbie Keane: If we go down, we go down fighting
Gyasi Zardes: I've been waiting my whole life for this opportunity
Jaime Penedo: I can not disappoint the fans
Landon Donovan: It's now or never
The LA Galaxy are hoping to make a deep playoff run in their quest to be the "First to Five" and it's only appropriate that their new in-stadium playoff intro video features a bit of deep house music.
The intro which was created by LA Galaxy videographers Paolo Ferrari and Albert Lanzillo and will be shown at StubHub Center prior to each match can be seen above.
CARSON, Calif. – Robbie Keane is not a full fitness ahead of the LA Galaxy’s Western Conference Semifinal second leg, but the team’s captain refuses to allow a hamstring issue to hinder him heading into Sunday’s match against Real Salt Lake.
“It’s okay, it’s getting there,” said Keane. "It's not 100 percent but it's getting there."
The Galaxy will need Keane to be at his best as the forward has been unable to find the back of the net in his last two games as LA have gone winless in their last four matches. Although the Galaxy has struggled as of late, Keane says the Galaxy are ready to go.
“When our backs are up against the wall, we usually come up good. We know exactly what we have to do. We have to not concede and we have to score goals,” said Keane. “We know that we can do it because we have the players and the squad to do it. That’s why we’ve been one of the best teams over the last three years. We know how to perform in big situations and it doesn’t get any bigger than Sunday.”
The Irishman, who expects a cautious start from a Salt Lake side that can advance with a draw in which goals are scored, says that the Galaxy must simply get down to basics if they’re going to advance to the Conference Finals.
“I think that we just have to concentrate on what we’re good at. We’re good at counterattacking and getting at people,” said Keane. “We’re not going to change how we’ve been playing all season. We know that we’re good at that and we’re going to keep that.”