Final Record: 24-8, 68 pts. (first, Western Conference)
The Galaxy started the 1998 campaign where it left off the 1997 regular season, on a hot streak, winning its first nine consecutive games to give the club an MLS-record 15-game regular season win streak. Los Angeles went on to finish the season with a franchise-best 24-8 overall mark, matching the league record for most wins in a season set by D.C. United on the same day (9/24/98). The 24 wins earned the Galaxy the Western Conference regular season title for the second time in the club’s short three-year history (also 1996). The club was 11-5 at home and an MLS-record 13-3 away from the Rose Bowl. Los Angeles enjoyed its most success against the Western Conference, going 16-4 (.800) against the West (8-2 at home, 8-2 on the road). The Galaxy also finished as the league’s hottest team with an 8-2 mark in their last 10 games. The club went 6-4 in their final 10 home games, but won eight of their last 10 road tilts (8-2). With 85 goals scored in 32 regular season games, the Galaxy demolished the MLS single-season scoring record of 70 goals (D.C. United in 1997). In fact, the Galaxy posted at least a two-goal margin of victory in 14 of its last 19 wins, including a three-goal margin in nine of the 19 victories. The Galaxy also recorded an MLS season-high 104 helpers for a total of 274 points (85-104=274). The club averaged 2.66 goals-per-game, including 3.38 GPG when recording a victory. The Galaxy finished with not only the best scoring squad in Major League Soccer history tallying 85 goals, but also with the best defense, allowing a mere 44 goals with seven shutouts. The goal total marked the second time in the club’s history that it held its opponents to 44 strikes. The Galaxy defensive corps allowed 1.38 goals per game, holding 21 of its 32 opponents to one goal or less in regulation. Furthermore, the 44 goals allowed by the Galaxy tied for second-best in MLS history (Columbus allowed 41 in 1997). Galaxy goalkeeper Kevin Hartman was among league leaders in several goalkeeping categories. The 6-1, 174-pound netminder led the league in wins (22), tied for second in shutouts (7), and finished second among minutes l eaders (2,544). Hartman, also known as “El Gato” for his catlike instincts around the net, finished second in the league with a 1.38 goals-against average. The Galaxy posted their 24th win with a 1-0 victory in the season finale against the Chicago Fire, which proved to be a preview of the Western Conference Final. Los Angeles recorded an MLS-record 68 points, falling short of earning a full three points in just two of their 24 wins.