CARSON, Calif. – Landon Donovan made history in his return to the LA Galaxy, pushing past Jeff Cunningham to take sole possession of Major League Soccer's career goal-scoring record in an emphatic 4-0 romp over the visiting Philadelphia Union.
Donovan went ahead of Cunningham in the 49th minute Sunday at the StubHub Center, a simple finish on a pass from Robbie Keane on a counterattack, for his 135th career regular-season goal. He scored another in the 81st minute and departed to a standing ovation a minute later.
It was his first two goals of the season and arrived just two days after USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann controversially omitted the 32-yard-old star – the national team's all-time goals and assists leader – from the final World Cup roster. Donovan had pulled even with Cunningham last October.
Maurice Edu, also among those trimmed from Klinsmann's 30-man preliminary World Cup roster, scored for Philadelphia (2-7-5), converting an 88th-minute penalty kick after Raul Mendiola fouled Zach Pfeffer.
The Union lost their second in a row and fifth in the last six games. They have won just once in their last dozen outings.
With Donovan back, the Galaxy made three changes from their victory Wednesday over FC Dallas. Donovan stepped in next to Keane up top, and Baggio Husidic returned to midfield, withStefan Ishizaki going to the bench, as LA stuck with a flat 4-4-2 for the second straight game. Leonardo returned to the backline, partnering Tommy Meyer in the middle, with Kofi Oparereturning to the bench.
Philadelphia had Edu back, and that's not all. Brian Carroll returned to midfield from injury andFabinho to the backline from suspension. Amobi Okugo, who started in midfield in last weekend's loss to New England, was back in central defense, partnered by Sheanon Williams.Antoine Hoppenot got his first start at forward.
Midfielder Cristian Maidana was serving a suspension after picking up a red card against the Revolution, and injuries this week sidelined defender Austin Berry (sprained left ankle) and forward Sebastien Le Toux (lower back strain).
Donovan made an impact right at the start, delivering a 40-yard free kick from the right flank that Leonardo – back on the field after sitting on the bench the last two games following surgery on a broken finger – nodded past Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath after finding space behind Okugo at the six-yard box.
Donovan tallied on a counterattack, feeding Keane on the right channel, then sprinting toward the left post for the return pass. The Irishman delivered after he got into the box, and the finish was easy.
Keane nearly netted one in he 61st, taking advantage after a Williams giveaway to nutmeg MacMath. He nearly scored again three minutes later, but his shot rolled just past the left post.
Donovan made it 4-0 in the 81st, following another give-and-go with Keane.
The Union remain in Southern California for a Saturday game against Chivas USA, then are home June 7 against Vancouver before MLS takes a two-week World Cup break. The Galaxy play at Chicago next Sunday and head into the break following a June 8 SuperClasico against Chivas USA.
LA Galaxy 4, Philadelphia Union 1
Sunday, May 25, 2014
MLS Regular Season
StubHub Center – Carson, Calif.
LA – Leonardo 2’ (Assisted by Landon Donovan)
LA – Landon Donovan 49’ (Assisted by Robbie Keane)
LA – Robbie Keane 64’ (Unassisted)
LA – Landon Donovan 81’ (Assisted by Robbie Keane)
PHI– Maurice Edu 88’ (Unassisted)
LA – Juninho (Yellow Card) 31’
LA Galaxy: Jaime Penedo; Dan Gargan, Tommy Meyer, Leonardo, A.J. DeLaGarza; Gyasi Zardes, Juninho (Raul Mendiola 73’), Kenney Walker (Stefan Ishizaki 65’), Baggio Husidic; Robbie Keane ©, Landon Donovan (Samuel 83’)
Substitutes Not Used: Brian Rowe, Kofi Opare, Robbie Rogers, Rob Friend
Philadelphia Union: Zac MacMath; Fabinho, Sheanon Williams, Amobi Okugo, Raymon Gaddis, Maurice Edu; Vincent Nogueira, Brian Carroll; Leonardo Fernandes (Zach Pfeffer 75’), Antoine Hoppenot (Conor Casey 52’), Danny Cruz (Andrew Wenger 61’)
Substitutes Not Used: Ethan White, Brian Holt, Fred, Michael Lahoud
Referee: Jorge Gonzalez
Referee’s Assistants: Jeff Hosking and Jason White
4th Official: Kevin Stott