CARSON, Calif. — Having all but dominated Sporting Kansas City through the first 43 minutes of action on Saturday, the LA Galaxy may have been a bit frustrated then to see the visitors holding a 1-0 lead just before the intermission.
In the span of two minutes, however, Landon Donovan took over. The Galaxy’s skipper put away a penalty kick in the 44th minute, then scored the match-winner early in the second half as the Galaxy dominated Sporting KC by 4-1 at The Home Depot Center.
“Tonight was the perfect game for us,” Galaxy forward Juan Pablo Ángel said following the match. “We played well. Our passing was still good, like it was against Dallas, New York, Philadelphia but we scored our chances.”
The Galaxy’s win on Saturday was their first since an April 23 victory over Portland. They had followed up that match with 1-1 draws against New York and Philadelphia sandwiched around a 2-1 loss to FC Dallas.
The way the Sporting KC match unfolded could have been quite a bit different. The Galaxy played an emotionally charged match against New York on May 7, then had to travel to Philadelphia for a match on Wednesday. With having only gotten two points from those two games, LA players could have been as mentally drained as their bodies were but the club responded.
“The guys who went on the road trip, it was tough for them to come into this match, playing a tough game on Wednesday, traveling Thursday, not training until Friday and not doing much really,” said Beckham, who did not travel with the squad to Philadelphia, "so it was difficult for the guys who had been traveling. But there were some great performances tonight.”
One of the players who stood out was Donovan, who is alone atop the league’s scoring chart with seven. The star attacker’s goals were the sixth and seventh goals he’s scored this season, and all came consecutively.
Donovan also became the league’s fourth all-time leading scorer, surpassing Jason Kreis and sitting in the fourth spot, just four off of Ante Razov. For his part, Donovan said he was not the only one who raised his game against Sporting KC.
“We all did that,” he said. “In the second half, we came out with a real good mentality. Obviously, scoring 30 seconds in helps but we wanted to really dictate the tempo of the game, the pace of the game in the second half and just take them out of their comfort zone and put them under pressure. We put them under a lot of pressure and the goals came.”
The night also featured a memorable goal by Ángel. While the goal itself was not necessarily a great play — Chad Barrett slipped a ball to him and Ángel raced past Sporting KC’s back line before the Colombian veteran easily beat ‘keeper Eric Kronberg — that he found the back of the net was significant.
Ángel’s goal was his second of the season, his first since a 4-1 loss at Real Salt Lake on March 26 and his first goal at The Home Depot Center in a Galaxy uniform. But he deflected any personal satisfaction from having scored.
“I’m happy,” said Angel, who did not start the match. “Any striker will tell you a goal means a lot to you, that it doesn’t matter how it comes. I’m more pleased that we played well as a team and we have played consistently in the last three or four games.”
Beckham polished off the rout with a goal off a free kick as he buried a ball from the left side of the penalty area four minutes from the end of the match.
“I always think that when I take free kicks, that if I put in the right area with enough pace it’s always going to be difficult to stop," he said. "As soon as I hit it, I knew it was in, whether he was preparing for the cross or not. I’ve had a few this season and been close but not scored, but it was good tonight.”