CARSON, Calif. – With all eyes on them, many to witness nothing more than Robbie Rogers stepping onto the field, the LA Galaxy gave a vintage performance Sunday night, dominating every aspect over 90 minutes en route to a 4-0 shellacking of the Seattle Sounders.
Robbie Keane, with his first MLS hat trick, got most of the attention – at least what didn't go to Rogers – but it was a thoroughly comprehensive team performance with, especially, midfielders Michael Stephens and Marcelo Sarvas making huge imprints as LA put the past few weeks behind them.
The Galaxy were first to most balls and repeatedly turned takeaways into chances, scoring four first-half goals – two of them on penalty kicks – to put away the streaking Sounders well before the break.
“I thought our start was really good, not just the goals, but the energy, the way we pressed, just the aggressive nature that we played with,” said Landon Donovan, also a key contributor. “We made tackles, we passed the ball well, we got a lot of chances, and then when we had a chance to score, we scored. It's as well as we've played all year.”
Keane was in form, and he set up Sean Franklin's 12th-minute opener – a nifty give-and-go with Sarvas, beating Jhon Kennedy Hurtado to the byline and scorching a pass into the goalmouth for the finish – before doubling the lead in the 24th after Donovan cross bounced a ball his way and adding two more from the penalty spot.
“It's always nice to score,” Keane said. “One, two, three or four doesn't really matter. As a striker, your job is to score goals, so it's of course great to score a hat trick, but I think the most important thing is getting the three points and bouncing back after the defeat last week against [the New York] Red Bulls, which we certainly didn't deserve to lose.”
Keane, making his third start since returning from an ankle injury, said he felt “really, really sharp” after a “kind of frustrating four weeks, being on the sidelines and getting back in the swing of things. It takes at least two or three games to get back into it.”
Head coach Bruce Arena enjoyed watching it all come together.
“I think our start to the game was real good. Guys had a real good positive attitude about getting out there tonight,” he said. “I think this year, for a large part of the year, we've played pretty well. We've just been a little inconsistent, a little unlucky at times, and I think at least tonight we rewarded ourselves a little bit and we got the kind of result we deserved.”
POSTGAME ANALYSIS: Three Points